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U.S. Treasury Yields Fall After Jobs Data

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06/18/2020 | 04:19pm EDT

By Sebastian Pellejero

U.S. government-bond yields fell Thursday after data showed the number of Americans who filed for unemployment last week was higher than economists expected.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell for the second straight day to 0.693%, according to Tradeweb. That is down from 0.732% at Wednesday's close. The 30-year bond yield followed a similar path to close at 1.461%, compared with 1.523% Wednesday. Yields fall when bond prices rise.

Labor Department data showed more than 1.5 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, higher than the 1.3 million economists had anticipated. While new jobless claims have eased as states reopen their economies, 20.5 million Americans continue to receive unemployment benefits, as companies remain cautious toward hiring.

"Claims are slowly, stubbornly falling back toward a 'normal' level, but it is taking a frustratingly long time and seemingly, momentum is stalling out," said Tom Simons, senior vice president and money market economist in the fixed-income group at Jefferies, in a note.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has retreated in recent sessions after surging to near 1% following data early in the month that showed employers unexpectedly added jobs in May. One major driver of the decline: investors' fears that increasing coronavirus cases in the U.S. will undermine efforts to restore the economy.

More than a dozen states have seen confirmed cases rise in the past week at a faster pace than the week prior, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data, with Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina reporting record daily coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

Thursday's data also included signs of economic recovery. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's business conditions index rose to 27.5 in June from negative 43.1 in the prior month, exceeding analyst expectations. Any figure above 0 indicates improving economic conditions.

That reading follows last week's release of a similar survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The data also showed conditions improving, with sentiment in the region rising sharply by 48 percentage points in June, to negative 2.

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

 

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