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“It’s a funny thing, the more I practice, the luckier I get.” – Nolan Ryan

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On this day 34 years ago, Nolan Ryan came out to the mound in the top of the fifth inning against the A’s, and up to the plate stepped Ricky Henderson.  Everyone knows that Ricky was known for his ability to draw walks, but he wouldn’t this time. After working a full count, he struck out swinging giving Ryan his 5,000th strikeout and putting him alone in the 5,000-club of strikeouts.  It’s been more than a generation since Ryan notched his 5,000 K, but to this day no other pitcher has reached that level in their career. Randy Johnson (4,875) and Roger Clemens (4.672) got close, but the closest active players aren’t even in the same ballpark. Forever is a long-time, but with 5,714 strikeouts in his career and the way pitchers are coddled now, Ryan’s record may just be unbreakable.

Holders of long-term US Treasuries probably feel just like any of the batters coming up to the plate with the “Ryan Express” on the mound.  Earlier this month, we highlighted the fact that the iShares 20+ US Treasury ETF (TLT) traded to its most oversold level in its history when on 8/3 it closed 3.8 standard deviations below its 50-day moving average.

Looking at the price of TLT relative to its trading range over the last year, you can see that it has been in oversold territory all month.  While the degree to which it is oversold is nowhere near as much as it was earlier this month, it remains deeply oversold.

As bad as the last month has been, this year hasn’t been nearly as bad for TLT as last year. So far this year, TLT has closed at oversold levels for 48 trading days, which would put it on pace for 75 this year or once about every three to four trading days.  That’s high, but it’s still less than half of last year’s total of 158 oversold days, and relative to the 20 prior years of trading for TLT, there have been six other years where TLT notched more than 75 daily closes in oversold territory.  So, it’s been bad, but maybe more Don Sutton bad (3,574 career strikeouts) than Nolan Ryan bad.

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