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Here's why global interest rates are up

Monday, 19 Aug 2013 | 9:44 AM ET
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Thanks, Jens Wiedman, President of the Bundesbank. You just raised global interest rates.

Despite the taper talk from the Federal Reserve, most central bankers have been trying to pour cold water on the idea that they would be raising rates any time soon.

The European Central Bank even began providing forward guidance stating they would keep rates down for an extended period.

(Read more: Will US yield spike derail tapering plans?)

But the German Bundesbank apparently didn't get the memo. This morning, in their monthly statement, the Bundesbank said the forward guidance was not an "unconditional commitment" and indicated that the ECB may have to raise rates "if greater inflation pressures emerge." Huh? What inflation pressures?

This is one reason why global bond rates have risen. Here in the U.S., 10-year yields this morning hit 2.87 percent, another two-year high.

Also, over the weekend there was more chatter that Larry Summers has a better chance than he had a few weeks ago to become Fed chairman. Many believe Summers would accelerate the pace of Fed tapering, which is also causing problems for yields this morning.

Bernanke bails on Jackson Hole
Neil Irwin, Washington Post economics columnist, and Greg Ip, The Economist, take a look at the likely agenda at this year's Jackson Hole gathering, and weigh in on President Obama's next Fed head nominee.

Elsewhere:

1) While many retailers will report this week, the big earnings report this week will be from Home Depot on Tuesday and Lowe's on Wednesday. That's because a lot of investors have been "hiding" in home improvement stocks as the market leadership has narrowed.

There are high expectations that there will be growth in big ticket items like cabinets and appliances. Partly this is on what happened in Q1, and partly because several other companies in the home improvement space have already reported strong numbers.

(Lumber Liquidators for example, had mid-teen comparable-store sale gains, Masco saw sales rise 11 percent in North America, and Whirlpool also raised 2013 demand assumptions based on strong sales growth).

However, these stocks have had huge run-ups on the home improvement story already: HD is up 80 percent, LOW up 75 percent since 2012. Valuations seem stretched: both are near 21 times forward earnings, near multi-year highs.

My point: these are the big "momentum" stocks in the home improvement space; any disappointment will cause the "weak hands" to head for the exits. With gains like these, risk seems on the downside.

(Read more: Traders beware: Six weeks of intense volatility ahead)

2) We will get the minutes from the last FOMC meeting on Wednesday, with Jackson Hole on Friday. Over the weekend, there was lots of talk that the Jackson Hole meeting will contain plenty of critiques of QE and reinforce the idea that tapering is beginning in September, though many are arguing that the beginning will not go from $85 billion to $60 billion, but will be much more modest.

3) How bad is the commodity business? Glencore Xstrata, which recently merged, is expected to write down the value of assets it acquired from Xstrata by as much as $7 billion, according to Reuters. This includes nickel and copper assets whose value has plummeted this year. Rio Tinto wrote down $14 billion on coal and aluminum operations in January—a major factor in the departure of its CEO at the time.

4) The "Flash" PMI (Manufacturing) numbers for August will be out Wednesday night for China and Thursday morning for Europe. July numbers were strong, and the expectations are fairly positive for August, with Europe at 50.5 (showing expansion) and expected to increase slightly and China, which came in at 47.7, also expected to inch up a point or so.

5) Finally, not that I count every day, but...Exxon Mobil is down 17 of the last 18 days, ever since their earnings report, which showed it and other big names like Royal Dutch Shell were having trouble growing.

—By CNBC's Bob Pisani

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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