A quick recap of the year so far...

  1. January kicked off with bond markets holding their ground at the weakest levels in more than two years. 
  2. The first jobs report of the year provided a big boost.  Perhaps we were due a technical correction regardless, but we'll never know.
  3. Cautious positivity continued until the emerging market panic began taking big chunks out of equities markets and causing some safe-haven demand for bond markets.  Even without that motivation, there's reason to believe that tradeflows and technicals would have motivated a good amount of the January positivity.
  4. Stocks and bonds simultaneously bounced in early February and a weak jobs report did little to reignite a bond market rally. 
  5. But neither were bond markets overly interested in stampeding back toward 4.75% mortgage rates or a 3.0% 10yr yield.  The "weather" explanation (or "excuse" depending on who you ask) gained grudging half-acceptance as justification for lackluster data, and as such, it made little sense to move too quickly in either direction (no sense in going higher in yield in case the weather excuse is overblown and the economy really is weakening AND no sense in rallying to lower yields because maybe the weather thing is legit to some extent--not to mention we just did a pretty good amount of rallying in January).
  6. Bond markets did a very good job of staying sideways ever since (see "pre-Ukraine holding zone" in the chart below).  The only exception has been the geopolitical flare-up in Ukraine and possibly a strong month-end trading environment at the end of February.  We had our Ukraine rally, and our Ukraine sell-off, and are now back to neutral, central ground.

We discussed that theme of "returning to neutrality" at the beginning of the day yesterday and the day before.  After seeing yesterday's reaction to the economic data, the theme looks even more intact.  Bonds barely budged, and flattened out right in line with the moving average that had previously hosted their sideways grind before the Ukraine curve-ball (middle blue line in the chart below).

10yr Yield Bollinger Bands

So, if we're back to those "holding zone" technical levels, what are we waiting for?  In terms of specific events, it's always worth considering that bond markets are focused on the next release of the Employment Situation data (Nonfarm Payrolls or "NFP"), and in that case, the wait will be over on Friday.  The other possibility is that the waiting is more about needing to see data that can't be blamed on bad weather. 

That need will likely continue to keep the range muted, UNLESS something crazy happens, like NFP coming in much stronger than expected, despite the weather caveats.  Even then, such a report would be an outlier compared to the last two.  It would have to be more than just moderately stronger, and carry some positive revisions to do serious damage.  But such an event can't be ruled out until tomorrow.  

If any of today's data is going to speak up and start pushing markets around, it would likely be early as Jobless Claims coincides with a Draghi Press Conference at 8:30am following the ECB's rate decision at 7:45am.  There are several Fed speakers and Factory Orders reports at 10am.  None of the above is a stand-out market mover, but if tradeflow considerations are pushing in the same direction (heavy corporate debt calendar this week), we could see some movement even before tomorrow's NFP.

MBS Pricing Snapshot
Pricing shown below is delayed, please note the timestamp at the bottom. Real time pricing is available via MBS Live.
FNMA 3.0
96-23 : +0-00
FNMA 3.5
101-00 : +0-00
FNMA 4.0
104-16 : +0-00
2 YR
0.3371 : +0.0041
10 YR
2.7192 : +0.0232
30 YR
3.6620 : +0.0180
Pricing as of 3/6/14 8:00AMEST

Tomorrow's Economic Calendar
Time Event Period Forecast Prior
Thursday, Mar 06
7:30 Challenger layoffs (k) Feb 45.107
8:30 Productivity Revised (%) Q4 2.5 3.2
8:30 Labor costs Revised (%) Q4 -0.9 -1.6
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims (k)* w/e 338 348
8:30 Continued jobless claims (ml)* w/e 2.973 2.964
10:00 Factory orders mm (%) Jan -0.4 -1.5