"You Bet Your Heinie" Bill Gross Needs a Fatter Crayon

David Tepper is short bonds. Bill Gross says the treasury bull market is over. Hoisington Management Strongly Disagrees.

Treasury yields are ripping higher. For a few days, we have seen significant "un-flattening" in what I would label a "bear steepener". That is , yields are rising, with the long end rising more. Here is the chart that has everyone talking.

10-Year Treasury Yields

There are at least a dozen ways to draw the trendline. I put it there because Bond yields just hit the level that Bill Gross said would signify a bear market.

"If 2.6 percent is broken on the upside ... a secular bear bond market has begun," Gross told investors in his monthly letter in January. "Watch the 2.6 percent level. Much more important than Dow 20,000. Much more important than $60-a-barrel oil. Much more important than dollar/euro parity at 1.00. It is the key to interest rate levels and perhaps stock prices in 2017."

"You Bet Your Heinie"

Hedge fund heavyweight David Tepper appeared Wednesday on CNBC and, when asked whether he was short bonds, said, "You bet your heinie."

Hoisington Outlook

In Hoisington Management's 4th Quarter Economic Overview, Lacy Hunt made this observation:

"The full spectrum of monetary policy is aligned against stronger growth in 2018. A higher federal funds rate, the continuation of QT, low velocity and abruptly slowing money growth all put downward pressure on growth. The flatter yield curve will further tighten monetary conditions. This monetary environment coupled with a heavily indebted economy, a low-saving consumer and well-known existing conditions of poor demographics suggest 2018 will bring economic disappointments. Inflation will subside along with growth causing lower long-term Treasury yields."

Treasury Yields 1998-Present

I saw some comments yesterday that the 30-year long bond was flirting with the upper trendline.

Is it? Which one of those dotted lines is correct?

I suggest both are. Arguably the best way to draw trendlines over long periods of time is with a very fat crayon.

Looking again at the first chart, if 2.6% on the 10-year was significant, then so was every other point I circled.

I side with Lacy Hunt even though the yield curve is no longer flattening at the moment.

Comparisons to 2008

This reminds me of 2008 when oil soared to $147 and everyone thought inflation was headed to the moon. I could see the housing bust coming and commented "I expect record low yields across the entire US treasury yield curve."

Oil prices once again are distorting the inflation outlook. And the notion that Trump tax cuts are going to fuel a GDP boom is more than a bit presumptuous.

What Happens if Stocks Sink?

The market is well beyond the froth stage as noted in Investors Abandon Hedges: Who Needs Em? The Stock Market Only Goes Up

Some expect a final melt-up. Others don't. See Hussman Questions Grantham's "Melt-Up" Thesis for discussion.

Either way, this recovery is already long in the tooth. Any significant downturn in stocks is likely to result in bond yields crashing.

Bill Gross is Short Bonds

Bill Gross, now at Janus, proclaimed today the bond bull market is over and he is short bonds.

Bill Miller told CNBC's Closing Bell yesterday "Those 10-year yields go through 2.6 percent and head towards 3 percent, I think we could have the kind of melt-up we had in 2013, where we had the market go up 30 percent. If we can get the 10-year towards that 3 percent level, you'll see the same thing."

Fatter Crayon Needed

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

...and that's from someone who has been consistently saying higher yields.

Gross has been fighting this bond bull a long time. In the long term he is probably right, and bond guys always have the long view. If I had bought 20yr treasuries yielding 5% in 99 when I got out of the market that might have timed the move perfectly.

Mish the drama of watching this whole thing play out with you and Lacy on one side with Bill Gross and David Tepper on the other may turn out to be like the Georgia Alabama game with every economic statistics

being analyzed with great detail, yet I think like the game their side is already ahead and have the Fed on their side not wanting to wimp out once again until they absolutely have to. The whole thing probably won’t be settled until the overtime period at the end of the year.

Not that it matters I’m with you and Lacy as long as the Fed doesn’t cheat more than I expect, because I can promise you they will cheat!! Again sorta like the game the Fed has a freshman running the offense and he will want to look exactly like that Alabama freshman QB at the end of the year!

With my remarks, please understand I did not mean to Imply that Alabama cheated like I believe the Fed does from time to time.

Actually the Fed has been cheating ever since it was brought into existence since central bankers think they r smarter than free market forces to determine the level of interest rates growth and everything else!!

David 'Sell all your' Stock Man, also is calling this the end of the bond bubble.

My guess is the bull market will hang around until mid 2018. Then people will realize there's going to be a flood of treasuries that will hit the market in 2019 and they'll want to sell before the flood.

Of course it's all relative. Interest rates will still be very low by historical standards.