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--Life High Close For S&P 500
By Vicki Schmelzer
     NEW YORK (MNI) - U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar closed off earlier
highs Thursday, with market players quick to take profit and reluctant to push a
new higher trend without some new catalyst.
     Ahead of month-end and quarter-end, U.S. yields have been underpinned in
the past two days by market players pricing in increased odds of a December rate
hike as well as the prospects of U.S. tax reform that would boost economic
     Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields were last near 2.310%, on the low side of a
2.301% to 2.359% range. Thursday's yield high was the highest level since July
13, when yields peaked at 2.366%. 
     Earlier, ten-year yields vaulted the 200-day moving average, which comes in
currently near 2.326%. Yields have closed below the 200-day moving average since
late July. 
     After a larger yield sell-off in June, U.S. yields subsequently recovered,
and 10-year yields rose to 2.396% July 7, the highest since mid-May. If the
200-day moving average decisively gives way, this will be the next topside
     As background, U.S. Treasury yields posted highs near 2.421% on May 11,
which was the highest yield since March 31, when the 10-year yield peaked at
     On March 14, ahead of the Fed decision, 10-year U.S. yields topped out at
     The Sept. 8 yield low near 2.016% was the lowest since Nov. 10, when yields
saw a wide range of 1.991% to 2.145% - two-days after the U.S. election. 
     As a reminder, 10-year U.S. yields rallied from lows near 1.720% Nov. 9,
the day after the U.S. election, to highs near 2.639% on Dec. 15, 2016, which
was the highest since the Sept. 19, 2014, peak near 2.655%.
     Ten-year German Bund yields closed near 0.479% Thursday, after trading in a
0.478% to 0.518% range. The earlier high was the highest since August 1, when
Bund yields peaked near 0.556%. 
     The low of 0.292%, seen Sept. 8, was the lowest Bund yield since June 27,
when yields troughed at 0.238%. The June 14 low of 0.225% was the lowest since
April 20, when yields bottomed at 0.192%.
     The July 12 yield high of 0.619% was the highest since Jan. 4, 2016, when
Bund yields peaked at 0.627%, the 2016 high. The next level of resistance would
be 0.651%, the Dec. 30, 2015 high. 
     As background, Bund yields fell to a low near -0.161% Sept. 27, 2016,
versus the life-time low around -0.2059% seen July 6, 2016.
     Ten-year Japanese government bond yields closed around 0.074%. When U.S.
and other global yields were at recent lows earlier in September, JGB yields
flirted with negative territory and tested the lowest yields since mid November.
     JGB yields hit highs near 0.108% July 7, which prompted the Bank of Japan
to step in buying bonds, offering to buy 10-year JGBs in unlimited amounts at
     Current low JGB yields compared to the Feb. 3 highs near 0.150%, which were
the highest since the BOJ introduced negative interest rate policy back on Jan.
29, 2016. 
     Ten-year UK Gilt yields closed around 1.375%, after trading in a 1.375% to
1.428% range.  
     The Sept. 8 low of 0.951% was the lowest since June 15, when yields tested
lows near 0.938% and Thursday's high was the highest since Feb. 2, when UK
yields hit 1.465%.
     The June 14 low of 0.923% was the lowest since Oct. 7, when Gilt yields
bottomed near 0.905%.
     On Jan. 26, 2017, 10-year UK yields saw highs near 1.530%, which was the
highest yield since Dec. 15, when yields hit 1.536%, the highest since May 5,
2016, when Gilt yields saw a high near 1.538%.
     In currencies, the euro held near $1.1782 late Thursday, in the middle of a
$1.1721 to $1.1804 range. Earlier, the pair was capped by the 55-day moving
average at $1.1812. 
     Wednesday's low of $1.1717 was the lowest since August 18, when the euro
bottomed at $1.1709. A break of $1.1700 will target the August 17 lows near
     The Sept. 8 high of $1.2092, seen at the peak of dollar selling, was the
highest euro level since Jan. 2, 2015, when the pair topped out at $1.2108. The
2015 high was $1.2109, seen Jan. 1. 
     In other pairs, dollar-yen held near Y112.35, on the low side of a Y112.34
to Y113.21 range. 
     Wednesday's high of Y113.26 was the highest level since July 14, when
dollar-yen peaked at Y113.58. The July high was Y114.49, seen July 11. 
     The 200-day moving average, currently at Y112.06, will act as initial
     In commodities, spot gold held near $1,287.00 per ounce, after trading in a
$1,277.83 to $1,288.87 range. 
     On Wednesday, gold broke below its 55-day moving average, currently around
$1,289, for the first time since late July, which targets the August 25 lows
near $1,276.36 and mid August lows near $1,267-$1,268 
     The $1,357.61 gold high, seen Sept. 8 at the peak of U.S. dollar sales and
risk aversion, was the highest since August 16, 2016, when the precious metal
peaked at $1,358.21. 
     NYMEX November light sweet crude oil futures settled down $0.58 at $51.56
per barrel, after trading in a $51.22 to $52.86 range. The earlier high was the
highest level since April 17, when crude peaked at $53.21. 
     West Texas Intermediate's decisive close above $52.00 (May 25 high) on
Monday had some eyeing a move to $53.76, the April 12 high. 
     Crude oil peaked in late May ahead of the announcement of a nine-month
extension of the OPEC/non-OPEC production cuts. 
     This extension was largely priced in and crude prices fell to $42.05 on
June 21 before recovering. There has been talk recently that OPEC may extend the
current agreement, set to expire in March 2018, until the end of next year. 
     In U.S. stocks, the S&P 500 closed up 0.12% at 2,510.06, after trading in a
2,502.93 to 2,510.81 range. The index posted a new life-time intraday high of
2,511.75 Wednesday and Thursday saw a record high close. 
     At Thursday's close, the S&P 500 was up 12.1% year-to-date. 
     Market players were also monitoring the Russell 2000 index, which often
leads larger stock swings.
     The Russell 2000 was last near 1,489, down from the new record high of
1,489.354 posted earlier.  
     Last month, the index bottomed at 1,349.354 on August 18, the lowest level
since April 17, when the Russell 2000 bottomed at 1,345.363. From last month's
low to Thursday's high, the index was up 10.4%.
     On risk appetite, the CBOE's volatility index or VIX was last at 9.60, on
the low side of a 9.60 to 10.42 range. More recently, the VIX has traded in a
9.50, seen Sept. 22 to 11.25, seen Sept. 25 range and has held below its 200-day
moving average, currently at 11.44.
     The VIX high of 17.28, seen August 11, was the highest since Nov. 9, the
day after the U.S. election, when the VIX peaked at 21.48. The high for this
month has been 14.06, seen Sept. 5. 
     The July 26 low of 8.84 was a new life-time intraday VIX low (prior
life-time intraday low was 8.89, seen Dec. 27, 1993). 
     Editor's Note: This is the penultimate OnTheRadar report. With Vicki
Schmelzer moving on to author MNI's Reality Check series, OnTheRadar will be
discontinued after Sept. 29. If you would like to receive end-of-day FX or fixed
income coverage via email, please contact for possible
     --follow MNIEyeonUS on --
--MNI New York Bureau; tel: +1 212-669-6438; email:

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