The 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread: Implications for the Economy and the U.S. Stock Market

The 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread: Implications for the Economy and the U.S. Stock Market

The 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread: Implications for the Economy and the U.S. Stock Market

In the vast spectrum of economic indicators, one stands out for its uncanny ability to foreshadow potential downturns — the 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread.

Known as the “10-2 spread”, this measure has emerged as a focal point for policymakers, investors, and market watchers.

But what makes this spread so significant? Can it really be a trusted herald of impending recessions?chart of 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread

Relationship between the 2 Year and 10 Year Treasury Bond

An Introduction to the 10-2 Spread

At the foundation, the 10-2 spread is the difference in yields between the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond and the 2-year Treasury bond (1).

A bond’s yield, to put it simply, is the return an investor anticipates when buying a bond. When you map out the yields of Treasury bonds of varying maturities, the resulting graph is the yield curve.

Typically, a 10-year bond offers a higher yield than a 2-year bond because of the longer time frame and associated risks, especially inflation.

Factors Influencing the Spread

1. Monetary Policy Decisions: The actions of central banks, especially the Federal Reserve in the U.S., play a pivotal role in molding short-term interest rates.

For example, to counteract inflation or an overheating economy, the Fed might decide to hike rates, a move that would likely boost short-term bond yields (2).

2. Investor Sentiment and Behavior: Yields on long-term bonds, such as the 10-year bond, are influenced significantly by investor sentiment about the future.

If the collective market foresees economic headwinds, there might be a rush towards the relative safety of long-term bonds, driving up their prices and consequently pushing down their yields (3).

chart showing CNNs Fear and Greed Index

Source: CNN

3. Expectations of Future Inflation: The prospect of rising inflation in the future can make investors wary, leading to a demand for higher yields on long-term bonds to compensate for anticipated value erosion (4).

4. Global Economic Dynamics: We live in an interconnected global economy where events in one region can ripple across financial systems worldwide.

Factors like discrepancies in international bond yields and major shifts in global economies can also weigh on the U.S. yield curve.

chart of global economic data

Source Koyfin

Does the10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread Predict Recessions?

10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread

Historical data provides some compelling evidence. An inverted yield curve—where the yield on the 2-year Treasury bond exceeds the 10-year yield—has been observed before every U.S. recession since the 1960s (5).

This inversion suggests a peculiar phenomenon: investors demonstrate more confidence in the economic outlook over a 2-year horizon than a 10-year one.

However, while history offers insights, it’s imperative to approach the spread with a nuanced perspective:

1. Time Lags and Variances: Post-inversion, the lead time to a recession can be wildly inconsistent. Historical trends show that after the yield curve inverts, it could be anywhere from a few months to over two years before a recession hits (6).

2. Potential False Alarms: Relying solely on the 10-2 spread as a deterministic recession predictor can be a precarious strategy. While it’s a robust indicator, it’s not infallible.

3. A Changing Global Landscape: Modern economies are complex, interconnected webs. International events, from Brexit to the economic policies of major players like China, can impact the U.S. yield curve (7).

4. Structural Market Changes: Over time, market structures evolve, influenced by regulations, technology, and financial innovations. These transformations can sometimes affect how traditional indicators, including the yield curve, behave and should be interpreted.

Implications for Various Stakeholders

For Policymakers

The yield curve, specifically the 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond spread, provides policymakers with valuable feedback on the efficacy of their strategies (8).

An inverted curve might suggest that monetary policies need to be re-evaluated.

For Investors

The 10-2 spread is more than just a metric—it’s a sentiment barometer. Active portfolio adjustments in anticipation of potential economic shifts can be informed by movements in this spread (9).

For Economists

The spread offers a treasure trove of data, acting as a litmus test for the economy’s health and providing insights into the interplay of various macroeconomic factors.

Conclusions and Forward Outlook

In the sophisticated dance of economic indicators, the 10-2 Treasury bond spread certainly plays a pivotal role. While its historical track record is impressive, relying solely on it for economic forecasting can be misleading.

A holistic approach—one that takes into account myriad factors, both domestic and global, and understands the intricacies and potential anomalies of the spread—is the optimal strategy.

In this intricate game of economic prediction, the 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread is undeniably a powerful player, but it’s crucial to remember that it’s just one of many on the field.



1: U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates.”
2: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “The Role of Monetary Policy in Interest Rate Determination.”
3: Investopedia. “Determinants of Interest Rates and Bond Yields.”
4: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. “Analyzing Inflation’s Impact on Bond Yields.”
5: National Bureau of Economic Research. “Linking Yield Curve Inversions and Economic Downturns.”
6: The Financial Times. “The Complex Relationship Between Yield Curve Inversions and Economic Recessions.”
7: The Wall Street Journal. “Global Factors Affecting U.S. Yield Curves.”
8: Brookings Institution. “The Yield Curve and Its Policy Implications.”
9: J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “Investing in the Shadow of the Yield Curve.”


The 10-Year vs. 2-Year Treasury Bond Spread: Implications for the Economy and the U.S. Stock Market

Understanding Fibonacci Retracement Levels

Understanding Fibonacci Retracement Levels

Understanding Fibonacci Retracement Levels


Technical analysis remains a widely used method for forecasting the future price movements of financial assets. Among its myriad tools and techniques, the concept of Fibonacci Retracement levels stands out due to its historical significance and ubiquitous application.

Historical Origins

The inception of the Fibonacci sequence can be traced back to Leonardo of Pisa, an Italian mathematician from the 13th century, popularly known as Fibonacci.

In his book, Liber Abaci, he introduced a sequence of numbers to the Western world that later came to be known as the Fibonacci sequence. It begins as 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on. Each number is the sum of the preceding two.

Image of a Fibonacci snail

Source: Math Images

Interestingly, this sequence isn’t just a numerical marvel; it manifests in various natural phenomena, including the arrangement of leaves on plants, the spiral of galaxies, and even the proportioning of features in human faces.

Translating Fibonacci to Financial Markets

In technical analysis, Fibonacci retracement levels are horizontal lines that indicate potential support or resistance levels. These levels are calculated by taking the difference between a major peak and trough and multiplying this distance by the key Fibonacci ratios, which are 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8%, and 78.6%.

Fibonacci retracement example The Decline in the S&P 500 during 2022, stopped at its 50% retracement level from the COVID lows of 2020

For instance, if a stock price climbs from $10 to $20, then retraces to $15, it has retraced 50% of its move. Fibonacci retracement levels would plot potential support or resistance at a few distinct percentages of that move.

Applications in Trading

  1. Identifying Support and Resistance: Traders employ these levels to identify potential price zones where an asset might reverse direction. For instance, if the price of an asset starts declining after a rise, it might find support at one of the Fibonacci levels.
  2. Setting Stop-Loss and Take-Profit Points: Knowing potential reversal areas allows traders to set logical stop-loss or take-profit points, minimizing the emotional aspect of trading.
  3. Combining with Other Tools: The accuracy of Fibonacci retracements increases when combined with other indicators like moving averages, RSI, or candlestick patterns.

Practical Implications

  1. No Guarantees: Like all trading tools, Fibonacci retracements do not guarantee success. They provide a framework, but market psychology and external news can often drive prices.
  2. More is Better: A principle that many traders follow is that the more the price respects a certain Fibonacci level in the past, the more likely it is to have significance in the future.
  3. Depth of Retracement: While the 50% level isn’t a “true” Fibonacci number, it’s often included because assets frequently retrace about half of a significant move before resuming their trend.


Despite their popularity, Fibonacci retracement levels aren’t without detractors. Critics argue that:

  1. Self-fulfilling Prophecy: The levels might work because many traders use them, not necessarily because they have any inherent predictive power.
  2. Ambiguity: In trending markets, pinpointing the ‘right’ high and low for drawing retracements can be subjective.
  3. Over-reliance: Solely depending on Fibonacci retracements without considering other market factors can lead to flawed decision-making.

Problems with retracement levels Different technicians may use different starting points in their analysis


The allure of the Fibonacci sequence and its relevance in nature inevitably piques curiosity when it’s applied to financial markets. However, the key is understanding that Fibonacci retracement levels, while useful, are just one of many tools in a trader’s toolkit. They are best used in conjunction with a comprehensive trading strategy and a disciplined approach.


  1. Fibonacci, L. (1202). Liber Abaci.
  2. Kirkpatrick, C. D., & Dahlquist, J. (2010). Technical Analysis: The Complete Resource for Financial Market Technicians. FT Press.
  3. Pring, M. J. (2002). Technical Analysis Explained: The Successful Investor’s Guide to Spotting Investment Trends and Turning Points. McGraw Hill Professional.
Small Businesses Owners Still Facing Challenges

Small Businesses Owners Still Facing Challenges

Small Businesses Owners Still Facing Challenges


Despite an improving economy, small business owners are still facing challenges. The data points that these business owners provide is something that should not be ignored.

There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States, as reported by the Small Business Administration. It’s worth noting that small businesses make up approximately 99% of all businesses in the country. Moreover, these establishments employ nearly half of all Americans, equating to around 60 million individuals working for smaller companies.

Are Businesses Owners Feeling More Optimistic?

On Tuesday, the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.6 points in June to 91.0, however, it is the 18th consecutive month below the 49-year average of 98.

NFIB Survey results

When analyzing the top concerns of small business owners, both inflation and labor quality are tied for the first place, with approximately 24% of owners reporting each as their single most important problem.

On a positive note, the net percentage of owners raising average selling prices has decreased by three points, landing at a seasonally adjusted net of 29%. While this level remains significantly inflationary, it is showing a positive downward trend.

It’s essential to mention that this is the lowest reading since March 2021, further emphasizing the importance of monitoring the current trends in the small business landscape for a comprehensive understanding of the market.

Additional findings included that:

  • Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months improved 10 points from May to a net negative 40%, 21 percentage points better than last June’s reading of a net negative 61%.
  • Forty-two percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, down two points from May but remaining historically very high.
  • The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher improved seven points from May to a net negative 14%.

Challenges Facing Small Businesses

According to the latest NFIB monthly jobs report, it appears that small businesses are facing challenges in their hiring efforts. In June, 59% of owners indicated that they were either actively hiring or attempting to do so, which represents a decrease of four points compared to May.

Shockingly, 92% of these business owners reported that they encountered a severe shortage of qualified applicants for vacant positions.

small business hiring John Rothe

Sources:, FMeX

Moreover, small businesses seem to be curbing their spending habits as well.

In the past six months, 53% of owners reported capital outlays, which is a four-point decrease from May. Among those who made expenditures, 37% invested in new equipment, while 21% acquired vehicles.

Additionally, 14% focused on improving or expanding their facilities, and 8% allocated funds for new fixtures and furniture. Lastly, 6% even went as far as acquiring new buildings or land for future expansion.

These numbers clearly indicate the current state of affairs for small businesses, highlighting the uphill battle they face in terms of hiring and financial decisions.

Job Growth in the US Slows to a More Sustainable Pace

Job Growth in the US Slows to a More Sustainable Pace

Job Growth in the US Slows to a More Sustainable Pace


The latest job report shows a slowing in U.S. job growth, with employers adding 187,000 jobs in July, which falls short of economists’ forecast of 200,000 positions.


Source: US Dept of Labor

However, there is no cause for alarm as this indicates a shift towards a more sustainable pace, and it still surpasses the average monthly jobs gained pre-pandemic. In fact, the July figure is slightly higher than June’s revised payroll gain of 185,000.

A Move Towards Sustainable Growth

Although the headline number might be disappointing, it is important to understand that the reduced pace is actually a sign of stability rather than weakness.

This growth rate aligns with what some economists consider the long-term capacity of the U.S. labor force, ensuring that growth remains steady and manageable. It represents a maturing recovery where employers are strategically aligning job growth with underlying economic fundamentals.

Unemployment Rate and a Tight Labor Market

Another positive development is the decrease in the unemployment rate from 3.6% in June to 3.5% in July, against economists’ expectations of no change.FRED unemployment rate in the US Despite an aggressive Fed, the Unemployment Rate remains at historical lows.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis

This decline reinforces the idea of a tight labor market, where employers are competing for workers, potentially leading to wage growth. Such a scenario can boost consumer spending and confidence, thereby driving further economic expansion.

Implications for the Federal Reserve and Interest Rates

FOMC Rate Hike Predications 2023

Source: CME Group

Given the numbers, it doesn’t seem likely that the Federal Reserve will rule out future interest-rate hikes. Despite slower job growth, the continuous expansion and tight labor market may push the Fed to stick with gradual monetary tightening. This can have various effects on investors’ portfolios, especially in sectors sensitive to interest rates, like bonds and financials.

When making investment decisions, keep in mind:

Bonds: Given the possibility of future interest rate hikes, it may be wise to consider short-duration securities with less sensitivity to rate changes.
Equities: Sectors benefiting from economic growth and consumer spending can remain appealing, particularly with potential wage growth driving increased spending.
Dollar & Commodities: Stay vigilant on the U.S. dollar and commodities as their valuations can be impacted by interest rate decisions.

Although July’s job growth might seem underwhelming at first glance, further analysis reveals a trend toward sustainable growth and a tight labor market. Take these dynamics into account when determining your asset allocation and investment strategy, and stay tuned for any interest rate moves by the Federal Reserve.




John Rothe, CMT

The Big Mac Index: Exploring Currency Valuation and Inflation

The Big Mac Index: Exploring Currency Valuation and Inflation

The Big Mac Index: Exploring Currency Valuation and Inflation


The Big Mac Index is an intriguing economic indicator that offers a unique perspective on the world’s currencies and purchasing power parity (PPP). Created by The Economist in 1986, it has since gained significant recognition as a tool for illustrating currency value comparisons.

What is the Big Mac Index?

Taking a common product available in numerous countries—the McDonald’s Big Mac—the index compares its prices across different currencies. This provides insight into whether a currency is overvalued or undervalued in relation to the US Dollar.

Understanding Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

The theory underlying the Big Mac Index is purchasing power parity (PPP). According to PPP, identical goods should have the same price in different countries, assuming no transaction costs or trade barriers, when expressed in a common currency.

Big Mac Index Graphic

Sources: The Economist, McDonald’s; Refinitiv Datastream;

IMF; Eurostat;; Banque du Liban; 

The EconomistNote: All prices include tax

The idea is that if a currency is overvalued, local goods will seem more expensive to foreigners, and foreign goods will appear cheaper to locals. Conversely, an undervalued currency will make local goods seem cheaper to foreigners and foreign goods more expensive to locals.

How it Relates to Inflation

While the Big Mac Index does not directly measure inflation, it can indirectly provide insights into inflationary pressures. If the price of a Big Mac rises more quickly in one country compared to others, it may indicate a higher local inflation rate.

This shift in the Big Mac Index can serve as an indicator that the currency might be overvalued.

Unveiling the Unique Perspective of The Big Mac Index

The Big Mac Index offers a captivating and informal lens through which to view currency valuation and inflation trends. Its analysis of relative currency values provides valuable information for economic considerations and global financial insights.


While the Big Mac Index is a simplified measure, it is not without limitations. Factors that can affect its accuracy include:

Taxes and Import Duties: Varying taxation policies across countries can impact the retail price of a Big Mac.

Cost of Living and Labor Costs: These factors differ significantly between countries and can influence the final price.

Local Preferences and Competition: McDonald’s may adjust the Big Mac price differently based on competitive pressures or consumer preferences in certain regions.

Using the Big Mac Index:

Despite its simplicity, the Big Mac Index serves as a powerful tool for visualizing the complex concept of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). It is instrumental in:

Gauging Relative Currency Valuation: Economists and investors rely on the Big Mac Index to assess the relative valuation of currencies and identify potential mismatches between market exchange rates and PPP.

Enhancing Learning: The index is an effective teaching tool, providing accessibility in explaining concepts like exchange rates and PPP.

The Big Mac Index is a novel and engaging economic indicator that offers insights into currency valuation based on the theory of PPP. While it does not directly measure inflation, its intuitive nature makes it a valuable resource for understanding fundamental economic concepts.

However, it is crucial to consider its limitations and underlying assumptions. The index should be used as a supplementary tool or for educational purposes rather than as the sole basis for economic decision-making.