With one of the most amazing sporting spectacles - Super Bowl 51 (LI, for those of the Roman numeral persuasion) - behind, most people got back to work today, including the rabid money-grubbers of Wall Street, but all was not rosy and peachy after the New England Patriots won in overtime, 34-28, over the Atlanta Falcons.
As President Donald Trump continues to attempt to "make America great again," much of the focus on the first trading day of the week was not on stocks, but rather, bonds, most noticeably on the 10-year treasury note, which plummeted eight basis points on the day to produce the lowest yield in two weeks, to 2.41%.
That figure may not seem so attractive to the yield-seekers of the world, but to countless hedge and managed bond fund professionals, it was a pretty awesome start to the week. Prices - which preform in the opposite direction of yield - for the 10-year were rocketing higher and any continuation of the move over the next few days and through the week might make for a trend-setting reversion following weeks of speculation after the Fed hiked federal funds rates at the end of last year.
Stocks were down modestly, but that was antecedent to the speculative ride in bonds, which was focused on the long end, thereby flattening the curve. What is more than just passing interest in treasury bonds figures to keep a lid on stock prices for the near term, at least until the next Fed meeting, in mid-March, at which time the FOMC will likely keep interest rates at the same levels. It's simply going to be too early for the Fed to believe that the economy is on sound footing toward expansion, something they've been sniffing around for over the past eight years. To their dismay, and possible demise, the Fed hasn't found much in the data to suggest that the US economy is going to be great, again, or with any other adverbial disclaimer.
So, today can be summed up as bond traders getting calls to buy safety and executing on the wishes of their clients. Any assumption that the Trump rally or any other concoction of the news and financial media is going to send stocks even higher than the stratospheric levels they've already achieved in one of the longest multiple expansions in history may be similar to a dog whistle.
Dogs may hear it and lower-thinking humans might get a strange beeping sound, but long-term financial experts aren't going to notice. They've already made up their minds about where stocks are headed and, from today's indications, they're not going to a pleasant place.
Gird your loins and whatever else you might think appropriate for a trip of declining prices and some creative destruction in stocks. Hopefully, it won't be your money that's being lost.
At the Close, Monday, January 6, 2017:
Dow: 20,052.42, -19.04 (-0.09%)
NASDAQ: 5,663.55, -3.21 (-0.06%)
S&P 500: 2,292.56, -4.86 (-0.21%)
NYSE Composite: 11,264.11, -46.63 (-0.41%)