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Treasuries Rebound, Oil Retreats But Underlying Risks Remain

By Ipek OzkardeskayaMarket OverviewOct 24, 2023 02:51AM ET
www.investing.com/analysis/treasuries-rebound-oil-retreats-but-underlying-risks-remain-200642986
Treasuries Rebound, Oil Retreats But Underlying Risks Remain
By Ipek Ozkardeskaya   |  Oct 24, 2023 02:51AM ET
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We continue to see high volatility in the US sovereign papers near important psychological levels where investors are invited to decide what to do next. In this respect, the US 10-year yield shortly crossed above the 5% psychological mark yesterday, then retreated sharply in a move that was qualified by a large short covering after two popular bond bears Bill Ackman and Bill Gross said that they covered their short bets on US Treasuries. Ackman said that ‘there is too much risk in the world to remain short bonds at current long-term rates’.  

And boom. The US 10-year yield fell below the 4.85% level. Of course, the rising US debt, and the rising US interest rates which make the debt more expensive to finance, remain a big issue. The US debt rose more than $600 bn since it crossed the $33 trillion mark and the total US debt is up by more than $2 trillion since the end of the debt ceiling crisis, back in the summer.

The US has been adding around $22 billion in debt each day since a month; that equals to almost a billion dollar per hour. And the most important thing is, the Fed is no longer a big buyer. Therefore, the upside pressure in the US long-term yields could ease near and above the 5% level. But the yield curve will likely stay high for long, and a further upside move in the US 10-year yield couldn’t be ruled out to end the inversion of the 2-10-year portion of the yield curve.  

A higher yield curve is not necessarily good news for the broader economy and stock valuations– unless the economy resists to higher rates.  

The S&P 500 extended losses below the 200-DMA yesterday and the index now approaches an important technical support, the 4180 level, the major 38.2% Fibonacci retracement on last year’s rally, and which should distinguish between the actual positive trend and a medium-term bearish reversal.

Nasdaq 100, on the other hand, eked out a 0.30% gain yesterday in the run-up to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) earnings due after the bell today. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is due to report on Thursday.  

Together, 5 big tech names in the S&P 500 – Amazon, Alphabet, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft, and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) - are expected to post a combined 34% rise in their earnings in the Q3 compared to the same time last year. Because they have a heavyweight in the major US indices, Big Tech could offer investors yet another reason not to give up on the US stocks. But keep in mind that without the Big 5, earnings for the S&P 500 companies would be down by around 5%. 

Big Oil, Big Purchases  

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) announced yesterday that it will buy Hess (NYSE:HES) for $53 billion, or for $60bn including debt. Earlier this month, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) had announced to buy Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) for around $60bn to extend its Permian footprint.

The Big Oil companies have such a big amount of cash in their hands that either they announce huge share buybacks and nice dividend payouts, or big mergers. Both are good for investors. Climate change doesn’t impact the good fortune of these companies, for now.

On the contrary, the deals are proof that traditional energy companies are confident in the industry, and they find it useful to grow their core fossil business lines, rather than going into alternative energy sources. In this respect, Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) reportedly ditched the world’s biggest carbon capture plant – after spending more than a billion USD to buy a startup called Stratos.  

In summary, the big oil companies are taking a big step back from their climate goals, they keep investing in what makes money: fossil fuel. And the recent rise in oil prices plays in their favor as well. The barrel of US crude retreated to $86pb this week, as tensions in Gaza didn’t escalate as much as feared, and as Hamas released two more hostages. But the risk of a sudden jump in oil prices prevails. If not, Saudi Arabia will likely come to the rescue of oil bulls near the $80pb.  

On a side note, according to the US Department of Energy, there are about 17 days left in the US strategic petroleum reserves. The US produces enough oil to continue feeding America with enough energy, but the meager 17 days of stockpile limits Joe Biden’s ability to contain any important price pressure in the future, which could be triggered by an escalation of tensions in the Middle East for example.

Therefore, any selloff in oil could be an interesting entry opportunity for those betting for higher for longer oil prices, due to supply restrictions and geopolitical tensions. I expect the barrel of US crude to swing within the $80-100pb range. 

Treasuries Rebound, Oil Retreats But Underlying Risks Remain
 

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Treasuries Rebound, Oil Retreats But Underlying Risks Remain

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Comments (2)
Michael J Cox
Michael J Cox Oct 24, 2023 7:44AM ET
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These articies are inaccurate and misleading
shakes a spear
shakes a spear Oct 24, 2023 3:15AM ET
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yet another article normalising casino economics
 
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