Geopolitics, tariffs, trade wars, shifting costs and capacity, and the global pandemic have disrupted business globally. The recent debacle in the Suez Cannel on 3/23/21 could not have come at a worse time. The supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks may continue and even worsen. The supply chain issues may also lead to falling inventories. Rising consumer demand and the increase in product demand as the global economy recover rapidly from COVID-19 restrictions is also likely in the months ahead. There is also the potential for rising labor costs as demand recovers and businesses re-open. The above factors are catalysts for higher inflation, at least from a near-to-medium term perspective.
U.S. treasuries are overly sensitive to economic forces and tend to move ahead of pivotal turns in the U.S. business cycle months and quarters the actual occurrence. Once again, it appears the 10-year Treasury yields (TNX - 1.635%) are discounting a robust U.S. economic recovery and expecting a higher inflation rate, as evidenced by the sharp rally from a historic low of 0.398% (3/9/20) to a recent high of 1.765% (3/30/21). The dominant factors for U.S. Treasury yields remain in place for TNX to retest 2.0% (late-2019 high). However, the recent sharp rally in rates has created an overbought condition. We would be surprised to see TNX transition toward a sideways trading range between 1.35% and 1.75% over the near-to-medium term.
One caveat and a potential game-changer to the bond and stock markets is the impending infrastructure bill. With a nearly $3 trillion plan for the next stimulus package, will this unleash further stress on the supply chains and drive inflation higher? What will happen to the financial markets when TNX convincingly surges above 2.0% and TYX eclipse 2.65-2.75%?
In the meantime, a consolidation in TNX between 1.35% and 1.75% still bodes well for stocks but can help trigger a sharp recovery in the recent lagging growth and technology sectors.
Many U.S. stock indexes like SPX, INDU, NYA, TRAN, etc. have already recorded new all-time highs. Although the dominant and primary uptrends remain in place for higher prices in the current leaders, a consolidation in US interest rates (TNX and TYX) plus the beginning of a new quarter can be the catalyst to convince investors to revisit growth and technology stocks.
COMPQ and NDX are still trading below their all-time highs at 14,175.12 and 1,3879.77, respectively. There are also wide discrepancies in year-to-date returns between small-caps, mid-caps, listed indexes, and OTC indexes. As U.S. Treasury yields (TNX and TYX) consolidate, and the recent winners like small-caps, mid-caps, and listed markets, financials, and economically sensitive sectors consolidate their gains as well, will money rotate back into the structural growth stocks such as technology names and select stay-at-home companies?