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Street downsizing may signal bond yield bottom

People walking in front of the New York Stock Exchange
Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images
People walking in front of the New York Stock Exchange

There's an old theory on Wall Street—when firms add lots of staff, it's the sign of a top, and when they make the last round of cuts, it's close to the bottom.

So that has some people thinking that maybe the musical chairs involving Wall Street's Treasury strategists this summer is a clear sign of change ahead for the bond market. There has been a not-so-coincidental number of high profile moves with some strategists landing in new positions, but some, so far not.

"It could be like the top of the equity cycle where the most analysts in town are in the hottest sector," said one bond pro, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Wall Street has a way of fighting the last battle without realizing there's a new war coming up."

The point being that the Fed is about to raise interest rates for the first time in nine years, making the unprecedented move from near zero after holding fed funds there for six years. While many strategists see a bottom already in yield (which move in the opposite direction of bond price), they say the Fed's rate hike may be the last hurrah for super low yields.