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Treasurys Strengthen on Signs of Global Economic Weakness

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05/15/2019 | 04:53pm EDT

By Akane Otani

U.S. government bonds rose Wednesday as the latest flurry of data pointed to some weakness in the world's two biggest economies.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield settled at 2.380%, compared with 2.421% on Tuesday.

The yield, which moves in the opposite direction of price, slipped early Wednesday after Chinese economic reports indicated a slowdown in the growth of industrial production and retail sales in April. In addition, investment in fixed assets such as infrastructure and property slowed during the first four months of the year.

Treasury yields extended their decrease after U.S. data showed industrial production and retail sales fell in April.

The combination of reports helped stoke investors' appetite for Treasurys, whose fixed returns are more attractive when the economic outlook appears to be uncertain.

With its recent drop, the yield on the 10-year note is hovering near its low for the year. Some analysts said the downward trend is likely to continue while trade tensions and uneven economic data keep risky assets under pressure.

Worries about escalations in the U.S.-China trade fight sent Treasury yields and stocks sliding earlier in the week.

"Trade is far and away the more dominant story right now, but sales should not go unnoticed ahead of consumer confidence reads later this week," said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E*Trade, in an email message. "Many view retail as a key economic bellwether," so further softness on that front could give pessimistic investors "more to sink their teeth into," he added.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com

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