What Is a Five Against Note Spread (FAN)?
A five against note spread (FAN) is a futures trading strategy that involves offsetting positions in 10-year Treasury notes using five-year Treasury notes. This approach requires investors to predict the future price movements of both five- and 10-year Treasury notes. To profit from a FAN, investors must accurately forecast the demand for five-year notes relative to 10-year notes. Bonds serve as the underlying assets in a FAN strategy, which relies on using Treasury notes to hold up its two legs.
Exploring Five Against Note Spreads (FANs)
The concept of a five against note spread revolves around a futures trading strategy. In this approach, investors engage in paired transactions, aiming for the ascension of the long leg while anticipating a decline in the short leg's value. The two legs of a FAN are associated with five-year and 10-year Treasury notes.
Treasury notes represent U.S. government bonds with maturities not exceeding 10 years. In usual circumstances, adhering to a typical yield curve, extended-duration bonds carry higher yields to compensate for interest rate risks, in contrast to shorter-duration counterparts. The pricing of T-notes or bonds is determined through auctions, with fluctuations above or below their face value contingent upon supply and demand dynamics. Elevated demand can lead to premiums above face value, whereas subdued demand can result in discounted prices below the bond's par value.
FAN Strategy Example
The FAN strategy hinges on an investor's foresight regarding price fluctuations of five- and 10-year Treasury notes. Profit materializes when the price ratio of the two legs of the trade ascends. Accurate predictions on the future demand for five-year versus 10-year notes are essential for successful FAN trading.
If the investor envisions economic conditions favoring longer-duration notes, the 10-year notes constitute the long position in the FAN. Conversely, if a surge in demand for shorter-term maturities is expected, the five-year notes become the long leg, and the 10-year notes serve as the short leg. Greater movement in alignment with the trader's speculation yields higher returns. This strategy thrives when a steepening yield curve emerges, resulting in more significant price disparities between bonds of varying durations.
Bond Yields vs. Bond Prices
Bonds are used as underlying assets in FAN strategies. However, investors do not directly profit from bond yields; instead, the focus is on predicting bond price changes over time. Yields and interest rates, although influential factors in note demand and pricing, exert an indirect impact. Those contemplating such strategies should meticulously comprehend the rationale behind executing such trades at specific moments.
The FAN strategy in futures trading relies on predicting price movements in five- and 10-year Treasury notes, requiring accurate forecasts of demand for these notes. Bonds are the fundamental assets in this strategy, with profits tied to changes in bond prices rather than yields. Understanding the influence of yields and interest rates on note demand is crucial for successful execution. The concept of FAN strategies centers on paired transactions and flourishes in scenarios with a steepening yield curve, where substantial price disparities between bonds of different durations prevail. Mastery of the rationale behind timing such trades is essential for investors exploring this approach.