government bonds ticker on building backdrop

US Rates Run as Markets Gear Up for Possible March Hike – Stocks Wobble

By:James Stanley

US Rates, S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 Talking Points:

  • Yesterday saw both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 put in strong bounces from support following early-session sell-offs.
  • US rates continue to run higher with even greater push on the shorter-end of the curve. This is a similar dynamic to what showed from late 2017 into late 2018. That scenario led to a pivot from the Fed, from a hiking stance in 2018 to a cutting phase in 2019.
  • Tomorrow brings CPI out of the US with the expectation of the data printing with a 7-handle.
The analysis contained in article relies on price action and chart formations. To learn more about price action or chart patterns, check out our DailyFX Education section.

Tomorrow brings CPI out of the United States and markets are walking into that release with the expectation that headline inflation may print above 7%. Of recent, this higher inflation impact has been getting priced-in to global markets with an intense move on the short-end of the Treasury yield curve.

The yield on 2-year Treasury notes is .94%, up from a low of .45% in late-November. This is a massive jump in a short period of time, and the 49 basis points tacked on to 2 year rates here even eclipses that of the jump in the yield on 10-year notes.

2-Year US Treasury Note Yield


Chart prepared by James Stanley; US02y on Tradingview

The yield on 10-year notes set a fresh high last week after NFP, and this is the highest rate seen since the pandemic came into the equation. Nonetheless, the jump in yield, from the December low up to the recent high, is 46.5 basis points, less than that of the 2-year note looked at above.

Yield on 30-Year Treasury Bonds


Chart prepared by James Stanley; TYX on Tradingview

Treasury Yield Curve Compression

As yields have continued to rise with greater focus on the short-end of the curve, those dynamics have started to get priced-in to equities, as well.

The rate sensitive Nasdaq 100 has been particularly interesting of late. After spending the entirety of last year riding in a bullish trend channel that started around the US election in 2020, prices have already started to threaten a break.

Yesterday saw the first test below this channel in over a year. Prices quickly jumped back above, but this may be a situation where the seal is now broken and bears may go for a deeper push here. As looked at last week, a continued rise in yields can keep the focus on downside for the Nasdaq 100 index.

Nasdaq 100 Daily Price Chart


Chart prepared by James Stanley; Nasdaq 100 on Tradingview

S&P 500

The S&P has been similarly shaky but, so far, it’s held up a bit better than the Nasdaq 100. There is a major spot of support, however, that was tested again yesterday around the 4600 handle. That’s so far led to a bounce, but sellers are back on the prowl this morning and as markets gear up for a more-hawkish Fed and perhaps even a March rate hike, there’s bearish potential here, as well. The next significant spot of support is around 4500 with another spot between that level and current prices around 4550. If the S&P cannot hold 4500 then a deeper sell-off could develop very quickly.

S&P 500 Four-Hour Price Chart


Chart prepared by James Stanley; S&P 500 on Tradingview

--- Written by James Stanley, Senior Strategist for

Contact and follow James on Twitter: @JStanleyFX

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