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DoubleLine's Gundlach: Treasury curve inversion signal 'economy poised to weaken'

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive officer of DoubleLine Capital, says the U.S. Treasury yield curve inversion on short end maturities are signaling that the “economy is poised to weaken.”

Gundlach, known on Wall Street as the Bond King, said the Treasury yield curve from two- to five-year maturities is suggesting “total bond market disbelief in the Federal Reserve’s prior plans to raise rates through 2019.”

U.S. two-year Treasury yields rose above three-year Treasury yields on Tuesday for the first time in more than a decade as traders piled on bets the Fed might be close to ending its rate-hike campaign. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down over 200 points.

Gundlach, who oversees more than $123 billion in assets, said: “If the bond market trusts the Fed’s latest words about ‘data dependency,’ then the totally flat Treasury Note curve is predicting softer future growth (and) will stay the Fed’s hand.

“If that is indeed to be the case, the recent strong equity recovery is at risk from fundamental economic deterioration, a message that is sounding from the junk bond market, whose rebound has been far less impressive.”

Gundlach said the Fed will need to be especially careful in its choice of words when they meet this month to deliver on their promised rate hike.

“There can’t be another screwup like last time, when they dropped ‘accommodative’ but simultaneously characterized the Fed Funds rate as ‘a long way’ from neutral, Gundlach said.

Reporting By Jennifer Ablan, Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis

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