All through the last four weeks, and accelerating in this first week of May, markets have repriced for a weaker U.S. economy. That process stopped today on a better-than-expected payroll report for April, itself ambiguous.
The important stuff: Mortgages have approached 4.75 percent, the lowest since last fall, taken by the all-market arbiter of reality, the 10-year Treasury note. That yield collapsed from 3.6 percent one month ago to 3.15 percent yesterday, back to 3.2 percent today on the job data.
Crowd noise has been deafening trough the last two years, in two octaves. The background bass has been certain of an accelerating economy, and someday will be correct. The high-pitched shrieking, rising over the last winter, has been the choir certain of inflation, and accusing the Federal Reserve of debasing the currency.
Must be careful, here. The recent leader of the debasing-“inflationistas” has been Pimco founder Bill Gross, the all-time best bond-fund manager. More impressive: In youth in Las Vegas he succeeded in running a card-counting system and won at blackjack. Last month he announced he had dumped all Treasurys and gone short. A very bad trade.