Short-term treasuries move to negative return

In probably the most telling sign that the financial markets are a mess yields on short-term treasuries actually turned negative yesterday. reported on this phenomenon in this article.

* “The desperation was especially striking in the market for U.S. government debt, long considered the safest of investments. At one point during the day, investors were willing to pay more for one-month Treasurys than they could expect to get back when the bonds matured. Some investors, in essence, had decided that a small but known loss was better than the uncertainty connected to any other type of investment.

That’s never happened before. In a special government auction on Wednesday, demand ran so high that the Treasury Department sold $40 billion in bills, far beyond what it needed to cover the government’s obligations.”