Weaker Data Sparks Treasury Rally

Shorter-dated issues rose as stocks dipped, following GDP data at the low end of expectations

Weaker than expected first quarter gross domestic product data proved to be the catalyst for the financial markets Friday. A disappointing 1.6% gain in first quarter growth sparked a modest rally in Treasuries and touched off profit taking pressures on an already top-heavy stock market. The markets were projecting growth of about a 2.5%, with a whisper number above +3%.

Hence, shorter dated Treasuries outperformed, leaving the curve on steeper trajectory around +324 basis points (+4 basis points), as Fed easing talk resurfaced. Indeed, Fed funds futures repriced to suggest about 60% risk of a quarter point cut by the end of June (it had been about 40%), with about 80% chance by the end of summer.

Interestingly, mixed data on home sales and a solid rise in the Michigan sentiment index had only transitory impact on the markets. Wall Street succumbed to selling pressure on the GDP print and never rally recovered. Break of 8400 on the Dow and 1445 on the Nasdaq added to the negative tone.

The advent of supply with the Treasury's refunding announcement Wednesday didn't really inhibit bulls, especially with so much market anxiety over the economy's health.

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