Long Treasurys broke upward, out of the trading range of the last eight weeks. Not by much, but out, the 10-year T-note above 2.8 percent for the first time in more than two years — 2.86 percent at this moment.
Mortgages are stickier, the rise negligible (investors have lost fear of another refi wave), but the march toward 5 percent is underway. Two patterns are helpful, one 24 hours old, the other a 60-year vintage. Before discussing those, dismiss a false lead: The 17-nation eurozone enjoyed positive gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter, ballyhooed in the U.S. press as an “end to recession.”
A positive quarter is the technical definition of a recession’s end, but not even the Europeans believe this is anything more than a passing moment of stabilization. Yesterday’s trading was instructive. News that should have helped long-term rates did not: Egypt’s descent into civil war; 200 points off the Dow; and zero-gain industrial production in July.
News that overwhelmed all else and pushed up rates: New claims for unemployment insurance last week fell to a six-year low: 320,000. Thursdays’ market calculus is now persistent: Jobs override all. If employment is strengthening, the Federal Reserve will taper quantitative easing to zero within six months.
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