Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Economic mixed bag

We just got another batch of economic data --

First, the Institute for Supply Management's service sector index surprised to the upside at 58.9 in November vs. 57.1 in October and the 55.5 market expectation. Employment was stable and new orders popped up a bit. Perhaps most importantly, the priced paid sub-index jumped to 55.6 from 51.9. It's still a lot lower than it was earlier this year. But that's quite a one-month jump.

Second, factory orders plunged 4.7% in October. That was the biggest drop in more than six years and worse than the 4% forecast. Orders outside of transportation fell 0.8%.

I'd call this a mixed bag of data. But I'd watch the bonds closely. Treasuries have been on a one-way rocket ride higher in price, lower in yield. This is basically a recession or near-recession bet. IF we see more signs that inflation is not yet dead (like this prices paid index ... like the surge in gold ... like the bottoming action in oil prices, etc.) -- AND we fail to get even worse economic data -- you could see bonds roll over, or at least correct. Just something to keep an eye on.


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