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There's chaos in global markets

Akin Oyedele
implosion explosion demolition

(REUTERS)
There is chaos in global markets.

Bonds sold off sharply on Thursday morning for a second day in a row.

They've reversed the decline, but stocks are still lower, after the chaos spilled over.

Near 1:00 pm ET, the Dow was down 148 points, the S&P 500 was down 15 points, and the Nasdaq was down 30 points. 

The International Monetary Fund slashed US growth forecasts, and urged the Federal Reserve to delay its first interest rate hike until 2016, in a statement that crossed as the stock market opened.

In a speech last month, Fed chair Janet Yellen said it would be appropriate to raise interest rates "at some point this year" if the economy continues to improve. 

In a morning note before the open, Brean Capital's Peter Tchir wrote: "It is time to reduce US equity holdings for the near term and look for a 3% to 5% move lower. The Treasury weakness is NOT a 'risk on' trade it is a 'risk off' trade, where low yields are viewed as a risk asset and not a safe haven."

The sell off in global bonds started Wednesday, as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi gave a news conference in which he said markets should get used to episodes of higher volatility.

Draghi also emphasized that the ECB had no intention to soon end its €60 billion bond-buying program, called quantitative easing, before its planned end date of September 2016.

Bond yields, which move in the opposite direction to their prices, spiked across Europe on Wednesday, and on Thursday this move is continuing, with German bund yields and US Treasury yields hitting new 2015 highs and continuing to climb overnight.

Here's the rise in US Treasury yields this week. 

UST week

(Investing.com)

And German bunds.

bund week

(Investing.com)

According to Bloomberg, bonds wiped out all their gains for the year.

Tom di Galoma, head of fixed-income rates and credit at ED&F Man Capital Markets, told Bloomberg: "This is sheer panic in the market from the standpoint of what's been happening in Europe ... Most of Wall Street is guarded here as far as taking on new positions."

The benchmark US 10-year treasury yield pushed higher to about 2.42% overnight, a level it hadn't touched since October. German bund yields rose to about 0.99%.

About six weeks ago, the German 10-year bund was trading near 0.05% and the 10-year Treasury note was trading around 1.9%.

In commodities, crude oil prices are sliding ahead of the June meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The 12-member cartel is widely expected to keep production levels unchanged to maintain its market share.

West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, fell more than 2% to a one-week low of around $58.24 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, also slumped 2%.

And for a bit more context, here's the action in US 10-year Treasury notes over the last couple years.

UST years

(Investing.com)

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