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Bond Report: Treasury yields edge higher as business investment perks up

Treasury yields rise Thursday as a solid durable goods orders shows business investment gaining steam at the end of the first-quarter of 2019. Read More...

Treasury yields rose Thursday after solid data on durable-goods orders showed business investment gained steam at the end of the first-quarter of 2019, relieving fears of a near-term economic downturn.

What are markets doing?

The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.50% added 1.4 basis points to 2.536%, while the 2-year note yield TMUBMUSD02Y, +0.87% rose a single basis point to 2.330%. The 30-year bond yield TMUBMUSD30Y, +0.43%  was up 0.7 basis point to 2.948%. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

What’s driving markets?

March’s durable goods orders rose 2.7%, after falling 1.6% in February. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the volatile durable goods orders to jump 0.5%.

See: Two-thirds of American CFOs predict a recession by the summer of 2020, survey finds

Investors are on the lookout for signs of increased capital spending, which have come under pressure as trade tensions, growth fears and tighter financial conditions from the four rate hikes carried out last year weigh on the willingness of businesses to invest in their own operations. The sharp rebound in durable goods helped dampen concerns of an imminent recession.

Market participants will now look forward the upcoming first-quarter GDP reading on Friday, expected to run at an annual pace of 1.5%.

Read: Economy stumbled out of the gate in early 2019 but finished stronger, GDP to show

What did market participants say?

Higher yields “were due to the better tone in the data in the morning, including the pretty solid durable goods orders. And you’re seeing some of the cuts priced into the bond market get reversed,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, a rates strategist at TD Securities.

“Central banks are becoming more dovish. They’re not seeing the inflation they want. But it’s still wait-and-see for the Fed. It’s going to keep yields in a very tight range, unless the next Fed meeting next week is a huge surprise,” said Goldberg.

What else is on investors’ radar?

Signs of more dovish policy from major central banks drew attention after the Bank of Japan kept rates unchanged at its Thursday meeting, and that interest rates would stay low until at least 2020. The central bank said it didn’t expect to hit its 2% inflation target until 2022.

The 10-year Japanese government bond yield TMBMKJP-10Y, +19.33% rose 1.1 basis points to negative 0.03%, Tradeweb data show.

The Treasury Department sold $32 billion of 7-year notes TMUBMUSD07Y, +0.62% in the afternoon, the last of three debt auctions this week. An indication of insufficient demand, the auction “tailed.” The tail is the gap between the highest yield the Treasury sold in the auction and the highest yield expected when the auction began — the “when issued” level.

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