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Bonds Surge on Weak Data

What a difference a day makes. A string of sour data boosted bonds nearly a point and left equities hemorrhaging in front of key payrolls data Friday morning. Much of Thursday's data foreshadowed weaker than expected results Friday, which could unwind much of the optimism instilled by Q1 GDP.

Initial claims vaulted to 421,000, the highest levels since 1992 (excluding 1996 strike effected data). Non-manufacturing NAPM and its sub-components tumbled, particularly new orders and employment, suggesting recent economic weakness spreading to the service sector.

The private Challenger survey also reported 165,000 layoffs, a new monthly record and capping a series of five consecutive +100,000 results. On top of this, there were more reports of a fund buyer of principle strips on the bond and rate lock unwinds on fresh corporate issues which helped the middle of the curve (5s & 10s) outperform.

Fixed income dealers were wary that Treasuries were getting ahead of themselves ahead of payrolls, but stocks kept sliding and prices stayed rich. Contradictory consultant reports about the Fed easing cycle did the rounds.

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