The Great Recession, Part Deux? Evidence From the S&P 500, Treasury Bonds, Mortgage-backed Securities And The Unemployment Rate (Doesn’t Look Good)

Are we looking at The Great Recession, Part Deux?

First, let’s look at the S&P 500 index since August 24, 2020 (white line) and compare that to just before The Great Recession 04/15/06 – 05/17/08. They look pretty similar.

Second, let’s look at returns on long-term US Treasuries (10yr+, white line) and US mortgage-backed securities (gold line) since The Fed undertook “Operation Crush Inflation!” (green line).

I saw The President’s press secretary fielding questions about the declining stock returns and impending recession. She responded “But the labor market is strong!” Well, Ms. Karine Jean-Pierre, I am sure President’s Biden economic advisor Jared Bernstein told you unemployment was at a very low level just prior to 1) The Great Recession and 2) The Great Covid-shutdown Recession). So, claiming that the US employment market is strong economy ignores that unemployment will surge if the economy slows … which is what The Fed is trying to do.

There is a rush to hedge the downside with The Fed tightening the monetary noose.

Unfortunately, KJP’s feeble answers to the shriveling economy remind me of The Office episode when Dunder-Mifflin’s CEO said that “Dunder-Mifflin is still a strong economy.”

Here is a photo of Joe Biden with his press secretary explaining that the US economy is still strong.

Slowing! Mortgage Purchase Applications DOWN 12% YoY (Mortgage REFI Applications DOWN 50% YoY)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released their weekly mortgage application survey this morning. Mortgage applications decreased 8.1 percent from one week earlier, for the week ending February 4, 2022.

The Refinance Index decreased 7 percent from the previous week and was 52 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 12 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

And mortgage refinancing applications are down 50% since the same week last week.

Here are the stats. Pretty much down across the board.

Given a slowing mortgage market, I designate The Office’s Kevin Malone as the face of the market with rising interest rates.

Treasury Curve Flattens as Inflation Risk Stokes Hike Bets (Schrute Bucks As A Hedge Against Inflation?)

The US Treasury yield curve has flattened to almost pre-Covid levels, signalling fear of inflation. And given our bottlenecked economy that The Fed and Federal government seem not to understand (or care), the flattening signals a wild ride ahead.

The Treasury yield curve flattened sharply Monday as surging energy prices stoked inflation fears and added fuel to growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to lift policy rates as soon as next year.

The gap between 5- and 30-year yields shrunk to as little as 84.5 basis points, raising concerns over it potentially signaling a growth slowdown, before rebounding to about 88 basis points. The low Monday put the spread at its least since April 2020, a time when pandemic fears brought the global economy to a near shutdown. Five-year yields are up 4 basis points to around 1.168%, while the 30-year bond yield was down around 1 basis point at 2.03% at 12:36 p.m. New York time.

Instead of cryptocurrencies, we might be better off with Schrute Bucks as a hedge against inflation.