Fed Pause Bringing Some Bulls Back to Bonds

Interest rates have been rising and yields have followed the same path. So traders bullish on bonds have essentially been seeing a repeat of 2022’s weakness. However, the recent pause in rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could bring more bulls back.

An indicator of the weakness in bonds this year is evident in exchange-traded funds like the iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG). It’s down about 4% for the year as yields continue to climb. That’s a welcome sign for fixed income investors looking to maximize yield via bond exposure. But they must also be cognizant that price appreciation suffers.

The recent pause by the Fed could signal economic data is showing signs growth might be suffering in the face of monetary policy tightening. In turn, the capital markets responded positively, including the bond market.

“Bonds improved significantly yesterday after the Treasury refunding announcement, economic data, and Fed press conference,” reported Mortgage News Daily. “Most reports attribute the gains to the Fed either ‘holding rates steady,” or ‘hinting at no further rate hikes.'”

Of course, data-dependency by the Fed means numbers can shift and more rate hikes could come. Fed Chief Jerome Powell didn’t rule out that scenario in the latest rate pause.

“Powell was also very clear to leave the door open for more hikes in the press conference,” the report added.

For bullish bond investors looking for a silver lining or sliver of hope that a rate cut could come, there is the sentiment that the rate pause could continue for an extended period. It’s all part of the guessing game the markets have been playing regarding a rate hike, pause, or at some point, a rate cut.

“The overall takeaway felt consistent with a Fed comfortably on hold for some time,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

2 Options for Investors Bullish on Bonds

If the market landscape looks favorable for lower yields and rising bond prices, traders can consider the Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares (TMF) and the Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares (TYD). Either as a profit maximization strategy or to hedge other positions, these funds from Direxion Investments offer tactical exposure to Treasury prices.

Both funds offer triple leverage, giving traders the opportunity to maximize their profits. As such, only seasoned traders should consider these funds. TMF seeks daily investment results of 300% of the daily performance of the ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index. TYD seeks 300% of the daily performance of the ICE U.S. Treasury 7-10 Year Bond Index.

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