The market gyrations of last week may become a data point for chartists and strategists who are looking to build a new thesis for their economic outlook, the Federal Reserve’s decisions, or the directionality of the fixed-income markets.
Why? On the heels of a volatile equity market, U.S. Treasuries and municipal bonds recently exhibited abnormal behavior, especially last Wednesday (15th), the Ides of October. The price of the 10-year Treasury note whipsawed in early markets with a 3-point move in little more than an hour, trading from approximately $101 up to $104.
Similarly, certain high-grade municipals with 10-year maturities traded in a 16-basis point range in terms of yield. Both of these moves were beyond the range of what is generally considered normal behavioral and trading patterns, giving rise to discussion as to cause and effect.
Although October has ushered in some devastating moments in our financial history (recall the entire month of October 2008 and days such as October 19, 1987 and October 28, 1929), this feels to me more like the tide turning than a lurch toward a distasteful ending. As unsettling as volatility can be, it is not unusual for corrections to reset valuations.
With strong performance in the muni market year-to-date and, so far, no fundamental changes to the underlying conditions that brought us to this point, last week’s temblors have not shaken my assumptions that muni valuations are still attractive compared to certain other asset classes.
The imbalance between supply and demand will potentially continue to be the dominant theme as the impact of the Ides of October recedes in the rear view mirror.