Recent strength in exchange traded funds that invest in U.S. Treasuries doesn't bode well for stocks and shows that investors worried about deflation are moving into safe havens.
The U.S. government sold debt at a record-low yield last week, as buyers accepted a negative payment for the third time in history on 10-year notes.
"The U.S. is the favorite safe haven," Hiromasa Nakamura, investor for Mizuho Asset Management Co. (a unit of Japan's largest publicly traded bank), said in a report. "There's a flight to quality. The world economy is declining. Recently the rally has gained strength."
The rally in Treasury ETFs reflects concerns that Greece will leave the euro, and also suggests investors are worried about deflation. Investors are reacting to fear as they look for safe havens to park their cash, due to the intensifying eurozone crisis. Yields have been driven to all-time lows as investors are filing out of stocks and into U.S. government bonds.
The iShares Barclays 20+Year Treasury Bond (TLT) has gained about 10% on the latest rally. News of Greece possibly leaving the eurozone and weak domestic economic data have investors seeking safety.
"This week, technical indicators such as the relative strength index reached overbought levels. What this means is that the rush into the market, sparked by the recent escalation of problems in Greece, pushed prices too far, too fast," wrote Michael Kahn in Barron's.
Although Treasuries have given investors a place to hang out amid Europe's troubles, when considering trading price or risk, they are not looking attractive, reports Kahn. The problem is that the Treasury market has already reached the price ceiling that stopped it on many occasions over the past year, which has corresponded with historic low yields.
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iShares Barclays 20+Year Treasury Bond
Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.
Disclosure: I am long TLT. Tom Lydon's clients own TLT.