Bond Report: Treasurys rally on Fed’s unlimited QE plan

U.S. Treasurys gained in price on Monday, lifting yields, after the Federal Reserve launched a raft of measures to calm financial markets, including a pledge to buy an unlimited amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities.

The bullish trading in the bond market was also aided by the failure, so far, by Congress to agree on a fiscal stimulus package intended to cushion the blow from the COVID-19 outbreak.

What are Treasurys doing?

The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -7.75% tumbled 16.4 basis points to 0.772%, while the two-year note yield TMUBMUSD02Y, -7.34% was down 5.4 basis points to 0.312%. The 30-year bond yield TMUBMUSD30Y, -4.62% slipped 22.4 basis points to 1.336%. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

What’s driving Treasurys?

The Federal Reserve said Monday it could purchase an unlimited amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, as needed. The central bank would buy $375 billion of U.S. government paper and $250 billion of agency mortgage bonds this week alone.

The U.S. central bank also announced three new lending facilities to support consumer and business credit markets. The Fed said it would soon roll out lending programs targeting small and medium-sized businesses.

Read: Fed announces unlimited QE and sets up several new lending programs

Investors also attributed the bullish sentiment in Treasurys to Congress’s struggles to pass a fiscal stimulus package that would limit the economic damage to businesses and individuals from the coronavirus outbreak.

A lack of swift action on the economic relief bill helped to dampen the mood in equities, with the S&P 500 SPX, -2.93% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -3.04% booking substantial losses Monday.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is set to sell $113 billion of government bonds across short-dated maturities this week. The new debt supply could weigh on trading for government paper, but analysts say the Fed’s increased bond-buying could offset the bearish impact of the auctions.

What did market participants say?

“The Fed has attempted to fill the void created by paralyzed fiscal policy. These steps are quite significant, but still do not address all of the issues that need to be addressed. The political leaders still need to get a game plan going here or the masses will suffer,” said Thomas Simons, senior money market economist at Jefferies, in a Monday note.