Bond markets weakened yesterday, with most of the losses following the FOMC Minutes, though troubles mounted in mid-morning hours. That said, trading levels merely returned to Tuesday's weakest levels, and those weren't especially troublesome in the context of recent ranges. Case in point, yesterday's trading only made for a half-hearted technical test to break out of the narrowest trend channel so far this year. Take a look (yesterday afternoon is in the white circle):
The takeaway from the chart above is that bonds aren't in such bad shape despite coping with their first prolonged bout of "sideways-to-weaker" in 2014. In fact, they've managed to stay closer to their best levels than the weaker levels seen heading into the new year.
The main gripe at the moment is the lack of guidance and direction. By leveling off at current levels over the past 5 sessions, bonds have gone to great lengths to be as neutral as possible. One of the more popular technical studies, Bollinger Bands, convey this neutrality rather well. In the chart below, notice how the orange candles (each one a day's trading range in 10yr yields) gravitate toward the center line during the last 5 sessions. That center line can be thought of as a neutral middle ground, above which rates are trending higher whereas bond bulls are in control below the center line. Other technicals are included to show that bond markets are still in the game despite yesterday's weakness. A strong day today would help build a fledgling case for support.
The only problem is that whole "weather" thing... It allows market participants to generally disregard weak data, but to rejoice in strong data. This will be most important today with respect to the 10am Philly Fed Survey. Reason being: Jobless Claims is a weekly report and if anything, bad weather is expected to help it improve as fewer folks make the trek to file unemployment claims. That's at 8:30am along with Consumer Prices--a report that doesn't much speak to the state of the economy.
Philly Fed is the only other significant report and certainly stands a chance to be heavily affected by the weather if the weather is having half the effect that's been relayed in previous reports (and in the news). Again, this is all downside risk for bond markets, so ANY strength following the data is a clue as to underlying motivations that transcend the data, and that could be the most important trading motivation we have until the weather can be ruled out.
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