bonds

An investor appeared to make sensible decisions with her family’s savings – avoiding her home country of Greece, picking a safe haven and bonds rather than equities. But as FT Alphaville reporter Lisa Pollack explains, the Dutch bank that issued the bonds she chose was nationalised and all was lost – a consequence of new legislation on bank resolutions.

Those hoping for a “great rotation” from bonds to stocks might start by looking for smaller rotations within the equity market. James Mackintosh, investment editor, says the signs are far from uniformly supportive of the bigger rotation.

One extra chart, before the video: monthly total returns on the US benchmark 10-year Treasury bond per month. January saw a loss of 1.94 per cent, including coupon payments, which isn’t great. But it is slightly less than last March’s loss, or October 2011, and pales in comparison with some of the monthly losses in the past. As the chart shows, this is far from solid evidence of the bond bubble bursting. Read more

James Mackintosh

Investors are desperately hoping for a return to normal markets, which would mean the end of the risk-on, risk-off paradigm. Risk-on, risk-off – which sees the price of pretty much all asset classes move together – has retreated a little, but is still a force in global markets.

One example is the global flow of money out of havens. Today’s video and column highlights one aspect of that: the rise in the US bond yield above that of neighbour Canada, as investors shift from the safety of US Treasuries to prefer the growth prospects further north. Rather than going away, this is typical of the risk-on phase of the risk-on, risk-off cycle. Read more

James Mackintosh

Contrarians are usually a grumpy lot, constantly being ridiculed for making mad investments, only to have those that work out dismissed as pure luck.

2012 gave plenty of examples, with pretty much any mainstream equities the clearest (almost no one wanted them in January, everyone does now). For the more adventurous contrarian, Greek bonds bought at the start of the year and held through the default have returned 100 per cent, including coupons, while Portuguese bonds are up 79 per cent on the same basis. Read more

FT investment editor James Mackintosh examines why bond yields in France have fallen and links it to a revival of confidence in the eurozone.

James Mackintosh

Lee Buchheit is a man worth listening to. The Cleary Gottlieb lawyer wiped €100bn off Greece’s debts when he restructured the country’s bonds at the expense of the private sector, in just the latest in a long line of sovereign defaults he has overseen.

Now he’s airing his thoughts on the options for Spain and Italy, jointly with Mitu Gulati of Duke Law School – and rather bravely, he’s due to speak about it in Portugal next week.

His key message is that Spain is running on borrowed time, and should get on with a Uruguay-style debt reprofiling as soon as possible, extending maturity dates on bonds far into the future but continuing to pay interest. Read more

James Mackintosh

The post-Draghi recovery has stalled. To recap: last Thursday ECB president Mario Draghi said the central bank is ready to do whatever is needed to save the euro, and markets went wild.

The markets are more nuanced today.

  • The euro is down (perhaps rationally: if the euro solution is to print money, debasement offsets the continued existence of the currency). Just as important for the technically-minded is that the euro failed to break its 30-day moving average, at $1.237.
  • The German 2-year yield has set a new low, coming close to -0.1% before recovering a little. Flight capital, in other words, is still headed for Germany. Longer dated German bond yields remain wider than last week, but are still tighter than at the start of July. There is not much confidence that Draghi will succeed in the face of the Bundesbank’s opposition.
  • On the plus side, Spanish yields continue to improve, with the 10-year having now plunged a full percentage point since last Tuesday, and short-dated yields also dropping sharply. Again, though, things remain worse at the end of July than they were at the start.

The two most important eurozone charts after the turn

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