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Bonds at Risk Ahead of Inflation
August 18, 2015

Current Position: Locking

Stocks and Mortgage Bonds are both trading lower so far this morning.  Mortgage Bonds began the day higher, but turned negative after a mixed July Housing Starts Report on the surface.

Housing Starts, which are counted when ground is broken on a home, were nearly unchanged at +0.2%.  However, last month’s original release of a 1.174M unit pace was revised significantly higher to a 1.204M unit pace, a gain of 30k.  This was the strongest Housing Starts figure in 8 years.  Additionally, the single family starts component jumped by 90k, the most since December 2007. 

Housing permits, which are counted when they are granted, fell by 16%.  It’s important to note that Permits are coming off of an 8 year high last month.  Additionally, there was a drop of 171k Permits in the Northeast after a June 15th expiration of a property tax abatement that was put in place to encourage more housing supply in NYC.  This pushed permits into June at the expense of July.  Overall, Permits are still at a strong 1.119M unit pace.    

Tomorrow morning we will receive the July Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, which measures inflation at the consumer level.  This is one of the most important reports we will receive ahead of the September 17th Fed Meeting and will be very important in the Fed’s decision to hike or not.  Currently, the Core rate is at 1.8%.  The figure that will be replaced from last year in tomorrow’s report is 0.1%.  If we get a tame 0.2% read on inflation for July, the year over year Core Rate should up to 1.9%, very close to the Fed’s target of 2.0%.  If that were to happen, Bonds will probably initially react negatively.  Additionally, Bonds look vulnerable from a technical standpoint.

Mortgage Bonds are currently breaking beneath the 25-day Moving Average, which they have remained above since July 15th.  The 10-year Treasury Note Yield is also testing an important technical level at the 100-day Moving Average, which it is currently break above.  With the technicals now appearing bearish and the Consumer Price Index Report tomorrow, we are going to advise locking.

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