Here’s what you should really sell in May

The market aphorism “sell in May and go away” could prove to be good advice this year, some traders say. That is, if you sell Treasury bonds rather than U.S. stocks.

Rich Ross, head of technical analysis at Evercore ISI, says Treasury bonds are in for a tough month ahead.

Yields, which move inversely to bond prices, have been in a “well-defined downtrend that has been in pace, oh, for just about the last 30 years,” he said in a Thursday “Trading Nation” segment.

But Treasury yields have risen considerably over the past week—which points to more upside ahead, according to Ross.

“Recently, we see this higher low also with a nice rounded base of support which has come in on that higher low. And just this week, we get a breakout from that base of support,” Ross said. “I think we get out through there and retest the 200-day moving average up around 2.20 [percent]. And we can even move higher from there.”

“So clearly, you want to be a seller of bonds in anticipation of the higher yields,” the technician added.

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A move higher in yields of German government bonds, or bunds, should support this trend, Ross said.

“We have gone from 5 basis points to 36 basis points almost overnight,” he said. (A basis point refers to a hundredth of a percentage point, or 0.01 percent.) “At some point this year, the bund yields might actually reclaim a handle. They might actually get back to 1 percent, and that would have a myriad of implications across classes.”

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Andrew Burkly, head of portfolio strategy at Oppenheimer, agrees that bonds, and not stocks, make the best sale in May.

“I think that the bund yield is moving higher and the 10-year yield is moving higher, and you’re likely to see that over the next month or so,” he said Thursday, also on “Trading Nation.” “Really, when it comes to European interest rates, it just got down to such ridiculously low levels. … I think being short bunds is a good trade here.”

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