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Economic Hopes, Worries Swing Treasury Yields

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06/16/2020 | 03:59pm EDT

By Sebastian Pellejero

U.S. government-bond yields swung wildly Tuesday amid conflicting signs about the pace of the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose as high as 0.783% in early trading, before paring its climb to 0.754% at the market close, according to Tradeweb, from 0.701% at Monday's close. The 30-year yield followed a similar path, finishing the trading day at 1.538%, from 1.448% Monday.

Yields climbed early in the session after the Commerce Department said renewed shopping prompted a record 17.7% increase in retail sales in May, though total spending remained below levels prior to the pandemic. The increase followed three consecutive months of declining retail sales, including the largest monthly drop on record in April, when retail spending fell 14.7% on a revised basis.

Investors welcomed the data as the latest sign that the worst of the economic shock from the coronavirus has passed. Further buoying their optimism: reports that President Trump's administration is preparing a nearly $1 trillion spending plan on infrastructure.

Yields pared their climb sharply, however, after signs of rising coronavirus cases and new warnings from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about the economic outlook.

Mr. Powell said Tuesday that the U.S. economy faces significant long-term damage from higher unemployment and a wave of small-business failures, despite recent signs of improvement.

"If not contained and reversed, the downturn could further widen gaps in economic well-being that the long expansion has made some progress in closing," Mr. Powell said in testimony presented to the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday, the start of two days of hearings.

Write to Sebastian Pellejero at sebastian.pellejero@wsj.com

 

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