Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yield Curve

I am far from a yield curve expert but it did seem that the flat and inverted curves we saw did indeed forecast the recession. And now, we hear that the curve is at a record spread from short to long end. Is that really true?

I could not get the chart to work here on the road but it seems to me that the spread was the same in early 2004 as the market settled into a nice correction in a true bull market.

Can someone weigh in on what it really means? Not that a steep curve is good for banks but the whole spread thing being at a record.

Now off to Publix to buy some toothpaste before heading to the Pershing conference. They confiscated my half-used Tom's of Maine toothpaste at the airport.  

4 comments:

William said...

Yield curve has historically had some (emphasis on some) predictive value, but I think it's ironic how when the yield curve was inverted it barely went noticed. Now that it's steep, it's a strong signal that it's a bull market. Two years ago some colleagues and I were preparing research on foreign banks. When I mentioned the curve was inverted, they argued that was a plus, because when the curve normalized, banks would be even more profitable. Oops.

The curve has some predictive value, since it affects banks profitability, therefore interest rates, but I question how objectively those in the media are reporting it's significance. It's a small piece of the puzzle.

GS751 said...

Part of the reason in the movement in the 10 year treasuries is all the supply coming onto the market.

Quick Takes Pro said...

William,

I think you have it right. Plus, you nailed the problem with much of what is passed off as analysis. People can take half of any indicator when it suits them and ignore the rest.

Quick Takes Pro said...

GS,

Right, too! I was more concerned with the widely covered (in the news) spread between short and long end. The supply argument wold mitigate any economic forecasting, would it not?