Entries by halyard

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 11/11/22

Finally, a downward bias to the Consumer Price Index! That’s not to say that prices are contracting. In fact, taking it at face value, the inflation numbers are still too high. But the rate of increase is falling, which is welcome news for consumers. Core CPI, the measure that excludes food and energy, rose 6.3% year-over-year, falling from a year-over-year increase of 6.6% last month. On a month-over-month basis the measure rose 0.3%, down from 0.6% last month. That’s a welcome improvement and comes just in time for the Fed.

October 2022 – Monthly Commentary

The short maturity fixed income market is offering the most attractive yield opportunity since before the financial panic of 2008, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s aggressive reversal of Fed Funds. We argue that the Fed has been forced into such an aggressive move by their years of ineptitude but, nevertheless, the move presents an attractive opportunity for investors to actually earn an attractive return on their cash. Prior to this year, the idea of 60/40 investing (a portfolio strategy of holding 60% of assets in equities and 40% in fixed income) had been supplanted by “forget bonds and buy the dip in stocks when their price corrects.” That strategy worked well prior to this year, but has proved catastrophic for portfolios this year, with the selloff in the darlings of the retail market, namely FANG stocks. All are down double-digits in 2023, with META, the parent of Facebook, down 69% from its peak. The best performing of the group is Apple with a year-to-date loss of only 27%. Topping the FANG losses, Bitcoin, the favored trading vehicle of the more “sophisticated” retail traders has lost 75% of its value since last December. With the cryptocurrencies printing new lows as we write, we wonder what’s stopping Bitcoin from plumbing the depths below 10,000. It’s certainly not valuation, because it really doesn’t have any intrinsic value.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 11/04/22

The Fed’s well publicized “leak” hinting that the Central Bank would raise the Fed Funds rate by 75 basis points this week, but that another hike of equal magnitude in December meeting was not a certainty proved at least partially correct. The committee did raise rates by 75 basis points and, with it, offered a new sentence to the statement: “In determining the pace of future increases in the target range, the committee will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy…” It was a written acknowledgment that the committee realizes that they have already tightening aggressively and, importantly, policy change works with a lag. However, Chairman Powell’s tone 30 minutes later, at the post-meeting press conference, was decidedly hawkish. We weren’t the only managers to be fooled by the head fake. Bond traders immediately took rates higher. May 2023 Fed Fund futures had rallied to 4.805% on the day of the “leak,” but have since reversed and are closing out the week at 5.12%. Similarly, the 2-year note which traded down to recent low of 4.30% reversed violently and are closing out the week at roughly 4.71%, the high for the year.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 10/28/22

Last week’s Fed leak that they would consider slowing the trajectory of rate hikes at the November 2nd FOMC meeting continued to dominate trading this week. Consensus seems to be developing that the recent softening of economic data will force them to temper their hawkishness and will raise the overnight rate 75 basis points next week and another 50 basis points in December. Reflecting that, the 5-year note fell to 4.06% before closing the week at 4.18%, on the back of a stellar auction on Wednesday. The auction cleared at 4.192%, through the presale when-issued yield of 4.21. The bid to cover rose to 2.48 times versus 2.27 times at the last auction, indicating that demand was high

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 10/21/22

A Wall Street Journal story released this morning suggested the Fed would raise rates by 75 basis points at the November FOMC meeting but would then evaluate the need and magnitude of a December rate hike. The market had been anticipating 75 basis point hike at each of the meetings. As we’ve seen in the past, most notably in June when the Fed leaked that they intended to raise rates by 75 basis points, the Fed will leak their intentions in an effort to prepare the market for a change. Whether it was a deliberate signal or cover for St Louis Fed President Bullard’s ethical gaffe, the market heard it loud and clear. The two-year note fell 14 basis points on the day as did Fed Fund futures. The peak in Fed Fund futures continues to be May 2023.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 10/14/22

There was precious little for the Fed to celebrate this week. The all-important employment report has been relegated to second tier status as the producer and consumer inflation measures take center stage as the most important measure of the Fed’s success, or as is the case in this week’s report, failure. Both measures came in above expectations and didn’t really offer any indication that the rate hikes to date have been successful. The markets reacted mostly as expected. The 30-year bond, after a brief short covering rally on the day of the CPI release is closing the week just a basis point below 4.00%. Similarly, the 2-year note is closing the week at 4.50%. Fed Fund futures reset materially higher, with the May 2023 contract indicating a peak Fed Funds rate of 4.935%.

September 2022 – Monthly Commentary

As of late, there has been little for the Fed to celebrate. The all-important employment report has been relegated to second tier status as the Producer and Consumer inflation measures take center stage as the most important measure of the Fed’s success. With the release of the September report, the Fed’s efforts this year represent a distinct failure. Both measures came in above expectations and didn’t really offer any indication that the rate hikes to date have been successful. The markets reacted mostly as expected. The 30-year bond, after a brief short covering rally on the day of the CPI release is trading just above 4.00%. Similarly, the 2-year note is trading just below 4.50%. Fed Fund futures reset materially higher, with the May 2023 contract indicating a peak Fed Funds rate of 4.93%.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 10/07/22

Higher rates for longer was the concise message out of the Federal Reserve this week. After an attempt at rallying on Monday, both stock and bond prices rose with quarterly rebalancing and short covering, markets again succumbed to the Fed’s message by the week’s end. The S&P 500 finished up 5.5% higher by Tuesday evening and the yield to maturity on the 2 year US Treasury Note finished lower by 17bps to close October 4th at 4.09%. The rallies were driven in part by the 3rd shot at a narrative that encompasses a central bank on the cusp of slowing the pace of rate hikes.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 09/30/22

Chaos erupted overnight Sunday in the U.K. as investors reacted harshly to announced tax cuts and sent Gilt interest rates soaring. The U.K. is besieged with a similar inflation problem as the rest of the world and the proposed tax would likely worsen rising prices. By Tuesday morning the 10-year note was a full 100 basis points higher in yield before the Bank of England announced that they would intervene and buy Gilts. After all was said and done, the U.K. 10-year ended the week 20 basis points lower at 3.81%, but not before “dinging” the U.K. government’s willingness to fight inflation at whatever cost.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 09/23/22

As was expected, the Fed raised the overnight lending rate corridor by 75 basis points, to 3.0%-3.25% and in decidedly hawkish post-meeting press conference, the Chairman signaled that they are not yet close a peak in the rate. It was communicated that Fed funds would likely end the year at 4.25%. That news rocked the Treasury market with the 2-year note closing the week 32 basis points higher at 4.19%, just off the intraweek high of 4.25%. The yield curve further inverted, closing at a -57 basis points, just a shade below the -75 basis points touched in May 2000.