We’ve had two working theses over the past few months. One is that the Fed is no longer pumping enough cash into dealer accounts to keep an endless bull trend going. Instead, at best, there’s only enough for rotation between stocks and bonds.
The second thesis was that because dealers are so leveraged, any fall in bond prices, reflected in an increase in bond yields, would mean big trouble for the markets. Based on technical analysis, I guessed that the Maginot Line for the bond market was 0.80 on the 10 year Treasury yield.
It’s early yet but, last week we saw evidence in the stock market that these theories are working in practice. The 10 year yield traded persistently above 0.80, and stocks sold off.
Not only wasn’t there rotation, where selling in one market translates to buying the other, but both markets were weak. The selling was contagious, leading to net portfolio liquidation, losses, and equity destruction. This increases the danger of margin calls, which can become self-feeding.
The big question is just how much pain will the Fed tolerate?
Because more pain is coming. A lot more.
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