News Column

Stocks Soar, So Do Treasury Prices; What Gives?

April 30,2013
Stocks

Stocks, Treasury prices soar; what gives? Not that Wall Street price moves ever make total sense, but what was odd about Monday's rally, which powered the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index to another record high, was the fact that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged to its lowest level of the year. That means bond prices rallied, too.

Normally, when stocks are in rally mode, it's a sign of good times ahead. When things are good, money tends to flow out of the bond market, not into what is viewed as a haven.

What gives? At one point Monday, the yield on the 10-year note fell to 1.65%, eclipsing Friday's prior low of 1.66%. It closed at 1.67%. At the start of 2013, the yield was 1.76%, and seven weeks ago, it hit a high for the year of 2.06%. The lowest closing yield on record was 1.4% on July 24, 2012.

Yields have plunged recently due to a weaker-than-expected first-quarter GDP number released by the U.S., Europe's ongoing debt problems and Japan's decision to buy bonds to stimulate its economy.

At these super-low levels, however, Russ Koesterich, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock, told clients Monday that the risks outweigh the rewards of owning Treasuries.

"While rates could fall further in the short term, in our view, Treasuries look extremely unattractive," he wrote in his weekly commentary. "Treasury yields are now below the rate of inflation, meaning that they offer little value beyond acting as a hedge against higher risk assets." His advice: Use the latest bond rally to lighten up on your position.


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Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2013


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