ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


Treasury prices rose Monday, extending gains from the prior week ahead of speeches from Federal Reserve officials and minutes from the bank’s last policy meeting. ┬áThe benchmark 10-year note (10_YEAR) yield, which falls as prices rise, was down 1.5 basis points at 2.505%, near its lowest level since last October, which was hit last Thursday. The 10-year yield dropped roughly 10 basis points as last week as the benchmark yield defied the expectations of many investors, who believed yields would rise this year.

The 30-year bond (30_YEAR) yield dropped 1 basis point to 3.338% and the 5-year note (5_YEAR) yield fell 2 basis points to 1.528%. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) inched up 0.2%.

Treasury prices began rising Monday after news that China’s real-estate market continued to slow in April. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, meanwhile, said that the central bank is keeping an eye on the British housing market, which could pose risks to the economy if it overheats.

Market commentators have attributed dropping yields in recent weeks to a number of factors, including growing concerns about economic growth and low inflation, and global central banks that are likely to remain accommodative to stimulate growth. Demand from foreign investors who see U.S. yields as relatively more attractive than other safe assets around the world have also been seen as a cause of the rally. See how Mohamed El-Erian explains the rally.

However, some see the climb in prices as nearing its end. European equity strategists as J.P. Morgan Cazenove wrote in a note to clients on Monday: “Most are now busy positioning for yields staying low for longer, but we advise not to join this trend.”

Positioning by traders for higher rates caught many investors on the wrong side of the trade, forcing them to cover their short positions by buying into the market. But data on positioning showed that a substantial portion of those short positions were expunged during the Treasury rally last week.

“We saw a continued short-cover in Treasuries, with short bets on the 10-year falling by nearly 40% last week. If CFTC Speculator bets go bullish, that could be the short-term top in prices,” said Dave Lutz, head of ETF trading and strategy at Stifel Nicolaus, in a note.

The calendar of events that generally helps guide prices is fairly thin this week. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and San Francisco Fed President John Williams speak on a panel just after noon Eastern on Monday. A number of other central bank speakers are on the calendar this week, including Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who gives a commencement address Wednesday.

By Ben Eisen