May the 4th be with you

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“Many of the truths we cling to are based on a certain point of view”
– Obi Wan Kenobi
In life imitating art we indeed find that perspective is a significant part of interpreting what the data means for the economy and thus the Fed and interests rates.  Today we are largely seeing pressure from a labor cost beat.  In a vacuum I might agree with this action.  Higher wages could lead to inflation.  My issue with the reaction is that in the last week most if not all of the data leading up to NFP has been weaker, save ISM services.  I’m not connecting the dots myself, and I suppose this will eventually come out in the wash, but for now we’re left with some decisions to make.  Lock or float into tomorrow.
In the end my ranges and my lock/float bias are unaffected by todays action.  If you are 1-2 weeks outs lock, 2+ weeks out float.  Either way don’t chase losers.  You missed the boat at 2.14.  Lastly, don’t put all your eggs in either basket.  I still have a roughly 70/30% medium range rate favorable perspective.
TK421 is still not at his post…
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-Philip Mancuso

Fed holds- What’s next?

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The Fed held fast today, as expected, but our focus is on the entirety of the statement, more then focusing on the rate action.

I see both dovish and hawkish points in the statement.  I see a no move on the balance sheet as significant.  They scoffed at slowing growth, calling it likely transitory, but frankly the market hasn’t been buying it, hence 10s being closer to 2 then 3.  On balance I call this statement Dovish.  Not in words, more in my interpretation.  

Here’s what I mean:

1.  If the Fed wasn’t hawkish, further into a hike cycle, where the market has been bracing for it, does this signal some underlying concern about the data.

2.  I’ve blogged this 100 times; when has the Fed been right about growth??? Therefore, if they are ignoring Q1 weakness, yet still not moving, what happens when/if Q1 weakness turns into Q2 weakness or even 2017 weakness.  Further, if employment continues to strengthen per the Fed, how do we explain 98k. Frankly all of this rings a bit hollow to me.

All I can say is #LowerForLonger #WindowIsClosing #CanEveryQ1TankBeTransitory??  #98IsTheNext200k

ISM services did beat today.  So far I’d say nosiest of the rate stuff has gone in our favor this week and we wait for NFP Friday.  I wouldn’t change my ranges, so govern yourselves accordingly.  If you aren’t familiar with the ranges, please check our my previous posts.  We’d like to close below 2.32 today to stay in that lower range.  We are moderately weaker v 1:59.

#BullsAndBears

-Philip Mancuso

You down with GDP?

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So we missed as I suspected.  Prices and employment a bit hot, but consumers not so much.  We gave it a shot, took the risk and we weren’t hurt.  We held 2.32.  Again, no big win here, just bought some time.  Next week is a big week:  ISM, ADP, NFP, Fed.  The bottom line is the data has been worsening so I don’t see tremendous risk here.  If you are counting eights and quarters you may want to be a bit more cautious.  End of day might get choppy with month end.  Frankly, I couldn’t arguing with locking around here.  Particularly on near term closings. 

If I can digress for a second.  Forgetting what rates do tomorrow, what the Fed does next week, etc, etc etc, can we talk about GDP for a moment.  

Firstly, Q1 is seemingly always weak.  I’ve tracked this in earlier posts.  So why anyone was thinking it wouldn’t be is beyond me.  Does it feel like groundhog day here?

I’d challenge anyone to show me why 2017 is any different from the last decade.  I just don’t see 3% in a minute as they say nowadays.

.7%?  Really?

-Philip Mancuso

Float/lock math for GDP tomorrow

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So we have held the bigger range nicely, sitting at 2.29 as I write.  ECB helping today with an as expected announcement, so now the path is clear for what I would expect to be a fairly pure reaction to the number, whatever it is.  My sense is it will be a bad number. Keep in mind that historically this number changes by as much as 1% in either direction before the final revision is posted, so there’s so risk to placing bets on either side beyond the assumed risk.  You may be right even if you’re wrong and vice versa.  Regardless of what happens tomorrow, save a blowout to the upside, #lowerforlonger seems well intact and I’d continue to lock/float the range as prescribed.
So here’s the trick.  What’s the range?  Is it 2-2.3, 2.3-2.6, 2.17-2.3?  You get the idea.  I’m not sure that matters and here’s why:  I think you are in one of three camps.  Someone that has been chasing rates since November, someone chasing since early 2017 or someone that just got into the game.   I see the risk/rewards as different for each…  
1. For folks hanging on since 2016, you really have little to lose here.  Float seems pretty obvious.
2. For those who go into a couple months back, even as late as mid March, the play is a bit more difficult.  We’re as much as 2 points off the bottom and only 75 bps off the year’s best levels.  My bias would be a bit more towards locking here.   #bullsandbears
3. Lastly, for those that jumped in around 4/18 and missed by a couple days and have been chasing, this I see as a bit more of a 50/50 proposition.
My bias would be to float anything two weeks out or more here.   Even if tomorrow doesn’t go our way I don’t see us getting absolutely clubbed on the number alone.  If you’re closing in the next week or so, you don’t have time to ride out a hit, so there has to be a bit more of a lean towards locking.  One caveat is that it’s not always just about domestic data so don’t forget #wearenotalone
In the end if I had to smash all of these together here’s my bottom line is:  70/30% bad number + we’ve already backed up since 4/18 = float.  Discipline is key here though.  You can’t chase the loser.   If you lose 25-30 bps on the bet, you lock it down and move on.  I also can’t stress this enough, we are contemplating probabilities and not absolutes.  I see the #risk/reward proposition as the main driver in the decision.
 Why?  #pigsgetslaughtered
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-Philip Mancuso

There’s been an awakening… Have you felt it?

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As I touched on earlier in the week, I have this sense the market is coming around to the fact that #lowerforlonger is not #deadandburied.  From a trading standpoint we rejected 2.17, but perhaps more importantly have held support at 2.24.  This would indicate to me that we are consolidating ahead of next Friday’s Q1 GDP read.  Look, it makes sense.  Not two months ago the suggestion was that 3% on 10s was a fait accompli.  A dash of geopolitical noise, some ISM misses, a stunning NFP, weak sales and a sense that the Trump tidal wave may be more of a ripple and now 2.62 seems like a distant memory.   More importantly, if you’ve been following my posts, I don’t see how any of this was a huge surprise.  It seems to have happened every year for at least the last decade.  It seems our economic reality wasn’t altered, it was just hibernating for the winer.  Well there’s been #anawakening and perhaps next Friday we will feel it.  

I found this article the other day on yahoo that suggests I may not be the only one who has: 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/first-time-since-trumps-win-economic-news-isnt-getting-better-142715566.html

I’ll go back to my 1/27 post calling for this move:

https://themancusowatch.com/2017/01/27/it-was-at-this-moment-that-the-fed-realized-they-screwed-up/

From my vantage point, if growth slowed to 1.6% in 2016 and we start 2017 with a clunker, how can the Fed continue to justify 3-4 hikes?  So how do we play it?  If you want to play the micro range it’s 2.17-2.24.  A wider range is 2-2.28.  I still think it would be tough to challenge 2 prior to next Friday, but we may seem some betting ahead of the number so I couldn’t rule it out.   Here’s a bonus chart of Fannie 3’s.

-Philip Mancuso

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Something funny happened on the way to 3%

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If you’re a follower of my posts you understand that I’m clearly on the winning side of this call, but even I’m surprised we’re approaching 2 on the 10s ahead of GDP.  

Sure there is always that buy the rumor sell the fact thing, but my guess was they’d want to actually see the bad number first this time given the headwinds lower rates faced. That said, some things have changed and I sense a palpable shift in the consensus view on rates right now.  Enter geo-political noise, a bad NFP out of nowhere (or was it), ISM misses for what seems like the first time in about 7 months, the sense that Trump isn’t the cure all for fiscal stimulus and what you get is perhaps a mini-capitulation that 3.0 isn’t coming any sooner than it didn’t come in 2014.  

As I’ve addressed in previous posts, this post March rally is pretty typical.  I called for a 2 point rally in Fannie Mae’s 3s with a top side of 3 points.  Well we are 1 tick shy of 3 points right here.  Which brings us to a pretty big pivot, and I’m not convinced we are going to break through here.  On 4/7 I wrote  “If I had to put a number on it I’d say 65-35 we test 2% sometime soon”.  I’d likely up that to 75% today.  

#lowerforlonger #notsofast #measuredpace #slowisthenewfast #thisiswhatitsoundslikewhendovescry #75% #throwbacktuesday

PS For throwback Tuesday I’m including a few links to some oldie but goodies to get any newbies caught up.  I’d also recommend going back through the last 3 or 4 blog posts as well.   

Enjoy

-Philip Mancuso

https://themancusowatch.com/2017/04/04/adp-as-easy-as-123-ecb-nfp-gdp-baby-you-and-me/

https://themancusowatch.com/2017/03/10/things-arent-broken-they-are-just-different/

https://themancusowatch.com/2017/02/15/the-wheels-on-the-bus-go-round-and-round/

https://themancusowatch.com/2016/12/21/do-you-see-what-i-see/

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98 is the new 200

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So much for a blockbuster NFP.

98k, negative revisions and a miss in hours set us up for an interesting April.  Combined with some weakness in the other data points from last week, and I think we’re set up for an interesting Q1 GDP read.  I surely like the #lower4longer play here, notwithstanding Friday afternoon’s sell off.  As I mentioned Thursday, the range is likely to remain intact through the NFP, and despite a really good attempt to break through on a terrible number, we closed above 2.30, 2.38 in fact.  The approach here should be to continue to lock/float the range, with perhaps a bit less caution.

If we chart this year’s March bounce (see below), you’ll notice we got back just a bit over the 200 I suggested was there, if just for a moment early Friday morning.  We’ve obviously faded since.  I can’t stress enough that up around that high in price there are some significant technical implications, so I wouldn’t read too much into finishing in the red other than 2.0 just wasn’t meant to be on Friday.   At the moment we’re set to open flatfish, so while I’m disappointed we’re not poised to rally, we also aren’t auto-tanking.  So we got that going for us, which is nice (congrats Sergio).  It is a fairly slow week for data, but we begin to heat up at the end of the week.     

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PS  I want thank my fellow Primer’s for supporting the Pediatric Cancer cause I posted Thursday.   As I mentioned, my son had already hit his goal by donating his own money, but our efforts pushed the entire team beyond their goal!  While there have been some tremendously generous contributions, even just $1 could change the lives of those battling this horrible disease.  Please join our fight and please share the link with others so we can really make a difference!  Here’s the link for those who missed it.  

https://donate.go4thegoal.org/fundraiser/947640

-Philip Mancuso