U.S. government debt yields moved lower Friday as investors digested more somber economic data.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 2 basis points to 0.595% while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond also declined 4 basis points to 1.256%. Yields move inversely to prices.
Consumer spending tumbled a record 16.4% in April as the backbone of the U.S. economy retrenched amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government report Friday.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected the advanced retail sales number to fall 12.3% after March’s reported 8.3% dive already had set a record for data going back to 1992. The March numbers were revised to be not as bad as the 8.7% initially reported.
Nervous investors are keeping a close eye on the U.S. jobs market. U.S. jobless claims totaled 2.981 million last week, lifting the total number of unemployment insurance claims filed during the coronavirus crisis to nearly 36.5 million — by far the biggest loss of jobs over a similar period in U.S. history.
More than 4.4 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The infection rate has been explosive in the United States, where there have been 1.4 million known cases.
Yields began their decline earlier this week after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned of “significant downside risks” from the coronavirus pandemic. The Fed chief’s gloomy outlook has investors debating whether the U.S. central bank could make another big policy move soon.