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“Try to decide how good your hand is at a given moment. Nothing else matters. Nothing.” – Doyle Brunson
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There’s a modest amount of risk-off mentality in the markets this morning, and it started last night with weaker-than-expected economic data in China followed by a weaker-than-expected report on economic sentiment in Germany from ZEW. This morning in the US, Home Depot (HD) is trading more than 2% lower after reporting a sales miss and lowering guidance. That weak report didn’t bode well for April Retail Sales at 8:30 where economists are forecasting a m/m increase of 0.4%. Looking ahead, we’ll get Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization at 9:15 followed by Business Inventories and Homebuilder sentiment at 10 AM.
The release of April Retail Sales was mixed. At the headline level, sales increased just 0.4% compared to forecasts for an increase of 0.8%. Stripping out autos, though, the report was right in line with forecasts (0.4%), and ex-autos and gas, sales actually increased at triple the rate of expectations (0.6% vs 0.2%). In addition, last month’s report was revised to a worse than initially reported number, so there was something for everyone in this report.
After slicing right through the psychologically critical threshold back in September, the yield on the 2-year US Treasury found support multiple times at the 4% level. After the last bounce in early February, the yield looked as though it was going to launch into a new higher range above 5%, and being short bonds looked like a winning hand.
Within a month, though, the failures of SVB Financial, Signature Bank, and later, First Republic caused a rush to safety, and yields quickly erased all of the February spike. Since then, the 4% level has been acting more like resistance (or a magnet) as the yield hasn’t been able to convincingly get back above the 4% level and is trading right around there this morning. With the 50-day moving average (DMA) continuing to roll over and the 200-DMA starting to follow suit, the 2-year yield runs the risk of breaking down below 4% turning what was the nuts into a bad beat.
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