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U.S. Government-Bond Prices Extend Declines

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09/09/2019 | 04:20pm EDT

By Sam Goldfarb

U.S. government bonds pulled back sharply Monday, extending recent price declines that have reflected hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks and some encouraging economic data.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note settled at 1.632%, compared with 1.552% Friday.

Yields, which rise when bond prices fall, crept higher overnight. They then took another leg up following a Reuters report that Germany was considering ways to bolster its economy by boosting public spending and circumventing rules governing how much it can increase its national debt.

A few days of pressure on Treasurys has now put some distance between the 10-year yield and its all-time low of 1.366% set in July 2016.

The yield, which investors and economists closely monitor as a barometer of economic sentiment, tumbled in August as investors bought safer assets amid escalating trade tensions and slowing growth overseas.

However, news last week that Chinese and American officials will resume trade talks helped arrest the slide in yields. Investors were also encouraged by a report showing strength in the U.S. services sector, as well as data within Friday's jobs report showing a larger-than-expected increase in average hourly earnings.

"Manufacturing has been particularly weak, but the consumer has been pretty strong," said Larry Milstein, head of U.S. Treasury and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co.

A flood of new bonds entering the market has also pulled some demand away from existing Treasurys. Last week, companies including Apple Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Deere & Co. were among a number of corporate borrowers that rushed to take advantage of low interest rates.

A healthy amount of corporate-bond sales is expected again this week. The Treasury Department is also poised to auction $78 billion of notes and bonds, ranging from three-year to 30-year maturities.

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

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