Today was shaping up to be very slow and boring, with bond markets making some inconsequential gains as traders shed risk ahead of this weekend's French election.
How did France get important? In a nutshell, one of the candidates (Marine Le Pen) is billed as a populist who wants France to divorce the EU, or at least to work out some sort of separation agreement. Anything that calls the stability of the EU into question tends to be a big deal for markets. Brexit was one thing (because Great Britain was never part of the monetary union), but aFrexitwould be amuch bigger deal. We're not necessarily sure a Le Pen victory would result in France exiting the EU, but the mere possibility of such things has traders on edge.
Markets are fairly sure LePen won't win, but they'd like confirmation, and will have it either way on Monday.
Just when everyone wasabout to fall asleepfor the day (with alarms set for Monday morning's post-French-election trading response), tax reform newswires hit. Trump told the AP that he would release a tax plan next week and that it will bebigger than "any tax cut ever."
That was the turning point for bonds(Mortgage Rates) (the concept of tax cuts has generally put upward pressure on stock prices and interest rates). Treasuries and MBS both gave up moderate gains to end the day in just slightly weaker territory. Several lenders repriced for the worse.
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