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Treasury Yields Rise After Jobs Report

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05/08/2020 | 09:57am EDT

By Sam Goldfarb

U.S. government bond prices fell Friday after the April jobs report met but didn't exceed economists' dismal expectations.

In recent trading, the yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was 0.669%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 0.624% just before the jobs report was released and 0.630% Thursday.

Yields, which rise when bond prices fall, climbed after the Labor Department said the U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April -- a record decline though slightly less than the 21.5 million drop anticipated by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

The data was the latest confirmation of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely restricted business and social activity. Investors, however, have been largely looking past economic data, focusing instead on what may lie ahead for the economy.

Friday's move came a day after an unexpectedly sharp drop in short-term Treasury yields. The yield on the benchmark two-year Treasury note closed at a record low 0.129% Thursday, according to Tradeweb, compared with 0.180% on Wednesday.

Federal-funds futures, which investors use to bet on central bank policy, suggested some think the Fed could cut rates below zero. That left analysts scrambling for explanations, given that Fed officials have consistently said they don't foresee adopting such a policy, which has been in place for years in Europe and Japan.

The two-year yield was recently 0.133%, while futures continued to imply that the fed-funds rate could turn negative by the end of the year.

Write to Sam Goldfarb at sam.goldfarb@wsj.com

 

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