Fixed Income Market Commentary by Kevin Giddis
July 10, 2019
The Treasury market is trading higher this morning and you can thank Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for that. We opened lower on the expectation that the Chair would offer commentary that left the market with more questions than answers…he did not. Instead the takeaway from Powell’s comments was that the Committee is concerned about global growth, and a lack of inflation. His “openness” to a rate cut is really all the market wanted or needed to hear, and they will take it from that point. My guess is that by the time Chairman Powell completes his congressional testimony some time tomorrow, the markets will pretty much know what the FOMC is going to do at the end of the month. Based on his early comments, that would be to lower the Fed Funds rate by 25 basis points. There are many reasons why I feel this will be the case in a few weeks, and here are a few of them: 1) Insurance. The Fed is still trying to atone for too much tightening last year, and they will likely use this meeting to “bury their dead.” 2) It temporarily mollifies the criticism from the White House, albeit likely for a short period of time. 3) Muted inflation. This is likely the best reason of all to point to when justifying a reduction in the Fed Funds rate. You have the room, and because inflation remains below the Fed’s targets, you aren’t likely to do any harm either. Once that is done, the Fed probably will sit back and view the data, specifically the leading data, to gauge whether they will be “one and done,” or keep going. If I had to predict it, I would say that a 25 basis point cut on July 31st is all but certain, but they may wait until October or December to cut again. Yesterday, the Treasury sold $38 billion 3-year notes to a lukewarm bid. Today its $24 billion 10-years, and I am going out on a limb to say that this auction should go well. As with any potential moves by the Fed, the dollar is moving lower on the prospect of a cut vs. the last few days of a stronger dollar when the market felt that the Fed would sit pat. I am now looking for his testimony to not only be favorable for both the bond and stock markets, it’s a boon for risk assets as well. Enjoy the summer!
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