Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Rising Bond Yields Keep World Stocks Unstable

Rising Bond Yields Keep World Stocks Unstable

The bond market is ready to turn up the heat even more on the stock market.

The equity market has become highly sensitive to inflation this month.

Treasury yields moved higher on the day. The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 1.2 percent to 2,649.00, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 1. Both indexes were on track for their largest single-day losses since February 2016. The bond market is a decent indicator of fears about inflation.

"Although the slide in the U.S. equity market saw bond yields come off their highs, the 10-year Treasury yield [remains] well above the lows seen earlier in the week, suggesting that the current selloff in the bond market has legs (at least in advance of next Wednesday's U.S. CPI report)", wrote Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets Europe, in a note. It's been pretty ugly. We haven't had inflation, and now we have it and everyone freaks out. For Hogan, the 10-year yield's recent break through 2.63 percent, its 2017 high, signaled the inevitable move to 3 percent.

Rising Bond Yields Keep World Stocks Unstable
Rising Bond Yields Keep World Stocks Unstable

"If 2.88 scared people why would they be comfortable with 2.84/2.85", said Schumacher.

Euro zone yields were also higher while a hawkish comment from the Bank of England regarding interest rates drove down United Kingdom stocks about 1 percent and boosted yields on United Kingdom government bonds to the highest since 2015.

The stock market is still up dramatically since President Trump's election. The 30-year Treasury bond yield was off 0.7 basis point at 3.124%.

The VIX volatility index, which exploded higher on Monday, has cooled off significantly.

"There's going to be an interplay, a bit of push and pull between the rates market and equity market", said Mark Cabana, head of U.S. short rate strategy at Bank of American Merrill Lynch. The deal looks set to increase the US federal deficit and may stimulate inflation, encouraging the Federal Reserve to hike up interest rates quicker than anticipated.

The deal, however, is expected to further add to the deficit.

"It's just the latest log on the fire", said Schumacher.

One new source of pressure on bonds is the budget deal that Trump signed on Friday. But it also had a negative impact on the bond market, and resulted in forecasts more Treasury supply and higher $1 trillion deficits. That compares with $420 billion net past year in notes and bonds. Rates may have to go up to attract buyers for those bonds.

Investors worry that Treasury yields will rise to levels that make stocks less attractive, and will force the Federal Reserve to fight inflation by aggressively raising interest rates. Still, that's a long way from the double-digit interest rates of the early 1980s. "I can guarantee European bonds are not going to be sitting where they are now as the ECB gets near the end of their tightening", said Peter Boockvar, chief investment strategist at Bleakley Financial Group.

US stocks began to wobble last Friday after a healthy USA labor market report sparked a spike in bond yields and fears of rising inflation.

"The interest rates and volatility beach ball was suppressed under water, sat on by the 1,000-pound gorilla of the Fed, the ECB, and the Bank of England".

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker speaks at 8 a.m. ET in NY, and both Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Kansas City Fed President Esther George have 9 a.m. appearances.

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