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U.S. Government Bonds Rise as Global Economic Data Disappoint

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05/15/2019 | 10:40am EDT

By Akane Otani

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

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was recently at 2.371%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.421% Tuesday.

The yield, which falls as bond prices rise, slipped early Wednesday after a Chinese economic data showed industrial production and retail sales were both weaker than expected in April. Investment in fixed assets such as infrastructure and property also slowed during the first four months of the year.

U.S. Treasury yields took another leg lower after U.S. data showed industrial production and retail sales both fell in April.

The combination of reports helped stoke investors' appetite for Treasurys, whose fixed returns look more appealing when the economic outlook looks more uncertain. With its recent drop, the yield on the 10-year note is hovering near its low for the year -- a development that some analysts say is likely to hold while trade tensions and uneven economic data keep risky assets under pressure.

Worries about escalations in the U.S. and China's trade fight had 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. "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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