Unless you're just looking at the recent behavior in interest rates for the first time in months, you're well-aware that they've been stuck in a range--essentially since February. This hasn't felt like too bad a place to be considering the death spiral that characterized the middle of 2013, and the encore t performance in Nov-Dec. Both of those sell-offs ran to 3%+ in terms of 10yr yields and took mortgage rates into the 4.75% area, and even threatened 4.875% on several occasions. In that light, spending the past 3 months mostly at 4.375 or 4.5% is at least able to be appreciated on some resigned level.
We've even seen rates push as low as 4.25%, as they did with yesterday's surprisingly strong move lower. It leaves us in a very similar position to the day before the jobs report back in February, precisely the event that marked the inception of the current range.
As the charts show, NFP was unkind to us back then, resulting in a quick move lower for MBS, and higher for Treasuries. The move also held an important lesson, because it was the report that came in at 113k versus a 181k forecast. While Private Payrolls at 142k versus a 182k forecast were a bit closer, that's still not the sort of miss you'd expect to result in a big sell-off for bond markets. The lesson is that the direction today ultimately goes may not be as simple as observing a 'beat' or a 'miss.'
As with any NFP day though, the more meaningful discussions will take place after we have the numbers and see how the market is reacting--fingers crossed that we didn't just get set-up for a decisive move back into the equivocal longer term range.
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