This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

The Interesting Thing About Treasury Bond ETFs

NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- On an intraday basis through Thursday, Oct. 25, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has pulled back 4.6% from a 52-week high. Similarly, since tagging a multiyear, intraday peak, the S&P 500 has forfeited 4.8%.

Is the presence of corrective activity and consolidation alarming? Hardly. The fact that investors were able to ignore earnings and revenue warnings until those admonitions became actualities is far more surprising.

We shouldn't blame profit and sales weakness alone, however. There is a real possibility of a disputed outcome in the upcoming election -- for the White House as well as for control of the Senate. The stakes couldn't be higher.

How might this affect riskier assets? Bush v. Gore ugliness resulted in -8% returns for large-cap equities in November of 2000. Of course, at that time, unemployment was not widespread, the Federal Reserve was not purchasing Treasury/mortgage-backed bonds and a fiscal cliff catastrophe was not looming on the immediate horizon.

While there are some who are talking about the chance of a postelection scramble in 2012, the markets may be thinking in terms of a highly probable postelection scrum. That causes risk takers to take a wait-and-see approach.

The reason that markets are beginning to consider a likely dispute has to do with new voting laws. New "provisional ballot" rules in swing states like Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin haven't been previously tested. And when scores of additional voters cast provisional ballots, officials must scrutinize those ballots to determine which should count and which may be deemed duplicates. (Can you say, "hanging chad"?)

Before the first week of October, markets believed that Obama would win the presidency and that the House of Representatives would go to the Republican party. A split between the legislative and executive branches has often been beneficial to stocks. Today, with the candidates neck and neck, the White House may not be determined until Thanksgiving. What's more, a 50-50 split in the Senate would effectively go to the Republican party if Romney prevails, making tight Senate races all the more contentious; again, provisional ballots may play a role in determining the makeup of the Senate.

Clearly, weeks of not being able to recognize who controls what causes more than heartburn and indigestion for institutional and individual investors. One can choose to buy volatile dips on the notion that winners will be declared eventually. However, the ripple effect of not being able to know the landscape is the inability to assess the economic impact of a non-negotiated fiscal cliff calamity (e.g., rising payroll taxes for all employees, capital gains tax increases, absence of an alternative minimum tax patch, dividends reverting to ordinary income, automatic cuts to the defense sector, etc.).

Nevertheless, there are signs that the fears may be temporary. "Risk off," flight-to-safety investing over the last five years has often seen Treasury bond ETFs gain at the expense of Stock ETFs. In the last month, however, U.S. Treasury Bond ETFs have struggled in the same manner as Stock ETFs.

In spite of genuinely weak corporate sales ... in spite of a Federal Reserve commitment to suppress interest rates ... in spite of an intraday corrective phase approaching -5% ... and in spite of a highly probable postelection dispute ... participants have yet to flock to Treasury bond ETFs. The absence of panicky Treasury bond buying is one reason to believe that stocks may yet find support levels to build upon.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Disclosure Statement: ETF Expert is a website that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Gary Gordon, Pacific Park Financial and/or its clients may hold positions in ETFs, mutual funds and investment assets mentioned. The commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. At times, issuers of exchange-traded products compensate Pacific Park Financial or its subsidiaries for advertising at the ETF Expert website. ETF Expert content is created independently of any advertising relationships. You may review additional ETF Expert at the site.

Gary Gordon reads:

Real Clear Markets
Jeff Miller
indexuniverse
Charles Kirk
On Twitter, Gary Gordon follows:

Jonathan Hoenig
Doug Kass
Hard Assets Investor

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $110.51 -1.60%
FB $88.17 -1.90%
GOOG $605.84 -1.40%
TSLA $245.72 -0.80%
YHOO $32.55 2.50%

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,374.76 +23.38 0.14%
S&P 500 1,950.93 +2.07 0.11%
NASDAQ 4,733.4970 -16.4820 -0.35%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs