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U.S. Government-Bond Yields Fall As Investors Seek Safety

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09/08/2020 | 11:58am EDT

By Orla McCaffrey

Treasury yields fell Tuesday after a fresh decline in technology stocks pushed investors to the safety of government bonds.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell to a recent 0.672%, according to Tradeweb, from 0.720% last Friday. The yield on the 30-year-bond also slid, falling to a recent 1.408%, from 1.468% last week. Yields fall when bond prices rise.

The drop in yields began overnight alongside futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index. A steep decline in shares of large technology companies has rattled markets in recent sessions, fueling worries that momentum has run out for some of the stocks that powered markets to fresh highs this summer. The Nasdaq fell 3% Tuesday in recent trading.

Declines in riskier assets including stocks tend to increase the appeal of relatively safe assets such as Treasury notes and the U.S. dollar. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against 16 others, climbed 0.3% to 88.42 on Tuesday.

One factor supporting government debt: concerns that the fall in stocks could slow down the wave of corporate issuance expected in the coming days, analysts said. Corporate bond issuance last month reached $179 billion, the most for any August on record. High supplies of corporate debt often push Treasury yields higher because investors tend to sell Treasurys to raise money to buy corporate bonds.

Issuance is "going to be a question of degree," said Jim Vogel, interest-rates strategist at FHN Financial. "Everyone knows there's going to be a lot of issuance. But there was a lot of supply in August, so people might not have to rush as much in September as they usually do.

Tuesday's move marks a reversal after a run-up in Treasury yields that preceded the holiday weekend. The 10-year yield notched its largest one-day increase since May in the wake of Friday's better-than-expected jobs data.

The retreat is the latest sign of the 10-year yield's recent stall within a narrow range near two-thirds of a percentage point, weighed down by factors including investors' expectations for tepid growth and inflation and bond-buying from the Federal Reserve.

Write to Orla McCaffrey at orla.mccaffrey@wsj.com


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.52% 27288.18 Delayed Quote.-4.38%
NASDAQ 100 1.88% 11186.3709 Delayed Quote.25.24%
NASDAQ COMP. 1.71% 10963.636953 Delayed Quote.20.13%
S&P 500 1.05% 3315.57 Delayed Quote.1.56%
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