Huge, historical bond move is upon us: Technician

Treasury yields have risen sharply over the past two months. And according to technician Craig Johnson of Piper Jaffray, the real move in rates is just getting started.

"This will be the big, new secular rising rate environment in the U.S., and it is something a lot of investors haven't seen, and it is something we need to pay very close attention to," Johnson said.

To him, the path forward for rates makes itself obvious on a long-term chart. Examining a 10-year chart of the 10-year US Treasury yield, Johnson espies a "big, inverted head and shoulders bottoming pattern."

"The last time I've seen a pattern this big was back in 2009," he said Friday in a "Trading Nation" interview.

By this technican's work, the consequent move higher in rates could be quite significant.

"If this bottoming pattern breaks above 2.70 [percent], you've got a neckline break on this, you can measure it out to over 4 percent," Johnson said. "Ten-year bond yields will probably take about five to six years to get there, but this is the start of a new secular uptrend."

Zachary Karabell, head of global strategy for Envestnet, points out, however, that even a 4 percent 10-year yield is pretty low in a long-run historical context.

"Going from 2.40 to 2.50 to close to 4 in five to seven years—I'm not really sure it really qualifies as a change in a 30-year secular downtrend,' he said. "I think we are more likely to be in a world where sub-4 percent, maybe even sub-3 percent long-term rates are kind of the new normal."

Even if rates rise to 4 percent, then, the spell of low rates shouldn't necessarily be considered broken.

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