Morning Report – The bubble in bonds 6/2/14

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1922.6 1.1 0.06%
Eurostoxx Index 3248.0 3.4 0.11%
Oil (WTI) 102.4 -0.3 -0.27%
LIBOR 0.227 0.000 -0.11%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.52 0.147 0.18%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.50% 0.03%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 106.6 -0.1
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 105.8 -0.1
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.15


Markets are flattish on no real news. Bonds and MBS are down
More disappointing economic data – the ISM Manufacturing report dropped from 54.9 to 53.2 in May and construction spending rose .2%. Both numbers were below expectations.
We will get the jobs report on Friday, and given the almost contradictory economic data we have been getting, I have no idea what to expect. I could see a 100k print. I could see a 300k print. FWIW, the street is at 215k, with a tick up in the unemployment rate to 6.4%.
Cash deals account for 29% of all sales, according to Bloomberg. Retiring baby boomers are choosing to own homes outright, as opposed to having a mortgage. Historically that number has been closer to 20%, and I have seen cash estimates as high as 40%.
In a related note, QE has rendered many economic risk models (particularly the Fed model for stocks) useless. Old definitions of “cheap” and “expensive” no longer apply in a world of unprecedented central bank stimulus and stubbornly low inflation. When investors start re-defining what “cheap” and “expensive” mean (think internet stocks in 1999), that is a signal that we are in bubble territory.
I would like to tie the two articles together – what sort of bet is buying a house with cash? Well, it is a real estate bet- going long real estate. However, by choosing not to get a mortgage, it is also a bond bullish bet, in a way. Lending is the act of going long bonds. Borrowing is the act of going short bonds. IMO, the baby boom is effectively doubling down on the bond bullish bet. They are making a very questionable bet that central banks around the world can stick the landing and exit this unprecedented stimulus without (a) crashing the bond market and (b) creating inflation. IMO, the risks are all to the downside in the bond market, and instead of buying homes with cash, I would be borrowing as much as I could at 4% interest rates. The baby boom drove the stock market bubble in the late 90s, the residential real estate bubble in the 00s, and are drinking the bond market kool aid now. I don’t think this ends well.
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