Friday, April 2, 2010

Lock in Now For Low Rates Before They Go Up

More trouble for the interest rate sector this morning on the releases of the employment report at 8:30. The headline is an increase in jobs by 162K with the unemployment rate unchanged at 9.7%. While the overall number of jobs was less than expected, the increase in private jobs (non-government hires) was more than thought and the addition of census workers to the job market was much less than expected. The upward revisions to Jan and Feb, increasing the total another 40K frm original releases.

Census workers were expected to have added the majority of the job growth, however not the case. Census workers accounted for only 48K of the jobs, the jump in employment numbers came from an increase of 123K jobs in the private sector, much higher than economists were expecting. Service and manufacturing sectors added 99K jobs, the third consecutive month that saw increases in manufacturing. Another surprise, average hourly earnings actually declined 0.1%; normally average hurly earnings increase at a steady +0.2% each month.

The reaction hasn't been good in the bond and mortgage markets; the 10 yr note jumped to 3.93% +5 BP and mortgage prices at 9:15 were down again 10/32 (.31 bp). The brief futures trading in the equity markets that lasted 45 minutes had the DJIA contract +36. What concerns us is the small number of census workers hired in March, looking forward we can now expect stronger employment reports over the next few months driven by addition of many more census hires than previously expected.

The report is going to be chewed over again on Monday and Tuesday when markets are back to normal. The take away now is more reason for interest rates to increase; the 10 yr note is likely to run up and test 4.00% next week, and mortgage rates up another 12 basis points from present levels. The recent increase in rates is building momentum much quicker than we expected two weeks ago. Next week Treasury has $74B of auctions to conduct, with the strong employment report the concern is the demand for the debt. In last week's auctions of 2, 5 and 7 yr notes there was a noticeable decline in. demand.

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