Market Insider

What's really scaring stock traders

Oliver Quintanilla | CNBC

The bond market is giving the stock market angst.

The yield on the 10-year note has become a barometer for stocks as it hovers near the bottom of this year's range. At the same time, the yield curve has been flattening, meaning yields on shorter-duration securities are getting closer to longer-term rates - usually a bad sign for stocks.

"I think the bond market is what's confusing people and stopping them from putting more money on the line in the equity market," said Scott Redler of T3Live.com. "[Where rates are] is making people in the equity market a little more timid or more skeptical."

Monday's action in both stocks and bonds initially continued Friday's trading pattern, which was weaker stocks and lower yields. That trend kicked in to high gear last week, when first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) came in near zero on Wednesday and when the details of April's seemingly strong employment report looked worrisome to bond traders. Even with a 288,000 jump in payrolls, the lack of a gain in hourly wages and a big drop in the participation rate were seen as signs of economic weakness.