Up Next: 30-Year TIPS Will Reopen At Auction On June 18, 2015

by: Tipswatch
Summary

CUSIP 912810RL4 first auctioned in February with a coupon rate of 0.750% and a yield to maturity of 0.842%.

Since then, in only four months, 30-year TIPS yields have risen about 30 basis points.

That means this reopening could auction with about a 10% discount to par, but is that enough to make it attractive?

Thursday's auction is a reopening of CUSIP 912810RL4, creating a 29-year, 8-month Treasury Inflation Protected Security.

This TIPS originally auctioned back in February, and at the time, I questioned the sanity of anyone who would buy it. I quote myself from my auction previews (Feb. 12 and Feb. 19):

I also advise that a 30-year TIPS with a coupon rate of 0.75% can be a very dangerous investment if you can't afford to hold it to maturity. If you are a TIPS buy-and-trader, you could be sitting on a time bomb. ...

(This TIPS) doesn't have much appeal for a small investor as a 30-year commitment, and it could be a very volatile issue for traders. (This TIPS will be reopened in June and October; if yields rise it could be a lot cheaper then.)

It auctioned on February 19 with a coupon rate of 0.750% and a yield to maturity of 0.842%, generating the lowest yield for any 29- to 30-year TIPS auction since February 2013.

Tick, tick, tick... This thing was bound to explode. In only four months, the market yield on a 30-year TIPS has risen from 0.842% to about 1.14% today. This TIPS has lost 10 percent of its value, and is currently trading with a price of about $90.09 per $100 of value.

  • The $90.09 price quoted above is from Thursday evening on Bloomberg's Current Yields page, which tracks real-time prices of TIPS on the secondary market. You can watch that page this week if you are interested in investing in this TIPS reopening.
  • The Wall Street Journal's Closing Prices page showed this TIPS closing Thursday with a yield of 1.144% and a wide bid-to-ask spread - centered around $90 per $100.
  • The Treasury's Real Yields Curve page estimates a full term 30-year TIPS would yield 1.17% at the close on Thursday, down from 1.25% from Wednesday.

This TIPS will carry an inflation index of 1.00468 on the June 30 closing date, which will slightly raise the price a TIPS will cost buyers.

For example, let's say the yield comes in at 1.14% and the price is $90.09 per $100 of value. If you bought $10,000 of this TIPS, the inflation adjustment would raise your purchase to $10,046.80, but you would be buying at a discount ($90.09 per $100) so your total cost would come to around $9,051 for $10,000 par.

Still, even with the discount, I can't see this TIPS being a slam-dunk purchase. An after-inflation yield of 1.14% is still very low by historical standards for a 30-year TIPS. But it's certainly a lot more attractive than the February auction's 0.842%.

Note: If held in a taxable account, the 0.75% coupon rate on this TIPS will make it just barely cash flow positive over nearly 30 years. You will owe taxes in the current year for inflation adjustments to principal, but you won't get that money until you sell the TIPS or it matures. Keep that in mind.

Here is a history of all 29- to 30-year TIPS auctions. I'll be posting next week before and after the auction:

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it. The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.