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U.S. Treasury Yields Mixed, Final Round of French Presidential Election in Focus

Interest Rates - Federal Reserve

U.S. Treasury yields saw a rise, after Macron led the first round of the French Presidential election. Prior to the results, U.S. Treasury yields fell due to the uncertainty in the French Presidential election results. However, after the results were released, risk-on sentiment was back, causing the global equity market and U.S. Treasury yields rise. Consequently, U.S. Treasury securities fell. This may have been due to the shift in safe haven assets to more risky assets. Now, Macron was not really a clear leader, as he was only up around 2 percentage points, and Le Pen could make that up in the final round of the French presidential election.

Source: Telegraph

Treasury Yield and Treasury Security Prices

Over the short term, if U.S. Treasury yields rise, U.S. Treasury securities tend to fall in price, due to the inverse relationship between the two. Recently, U.S. Treasury securities were buoyed by the Fed’s expectations that it would only have two additional rate hikes, less than the markets expected previously. Consequently, U.S. Treasury securities rose, and this trickled down to some U.S. Treasury-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Trader Jason Bond stated, “With the FOMC set to meet on May 2-3, 2017, the markets are already pricing in a dovish announcement. Traders are placing over a 90% probability that the FOMC would leave rates unchanged. Now, this could buy Treasury securities, additionally, the French Presidential election will be held a few days later, and some traders might look to Treasury securities as a safe haven.”

Source: CME Group

Now, U.S. Treasury securities could get a rise because yields may fall in anticipation of an unchanged Fed Funds rate. This should drive some U.S. Treasury security ETFs higher.

What’s more important is the final round of the French Presidential election. Now, we’ve seen how Presidential elections could affect the global markets already, most notable Trump’s surprise win over Clinton and the most recent first round of the French Presidential election. Global markets could see heightened volatility this week, and traders may want to focus on these U.S. Treasury ETFs.

iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ: TLT) is one of the most widely followed U.S. Treasury bond ETFs. As of April 28, 2017, TLT had over $6.6B in total net assets. Now, this ETF aims to track the performance of the ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index, which is composed of U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities greater than 20 years.

With that in mind, this ETF has experienced some volatility recently, and it could continue due to the upcoming election. Now, if Le Pen wins, look for a potential rise in TLT. On the other hand, a Macron win could cause TLT to sell off. It’s wait and see mode for this ETF.

The Bottom Line

The final round of the French Presidential election is coming up, and although risk on trading is back on the table, it might not be wise to hold risky securities into this event.

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Victor Alagbe

Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.
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