By Chuck Mikolajczak
Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury yields moved off earlier lows on Tuesday, as equities found their footing after a four-session drop and after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell before the House Financial Services Committee.
Yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note have drifted lower the last several sessions as stocks have come under pressure, with the S&P 500 down 3.5% over the previous four sessions on concerns about rising coronavirus cases potentially leading to fresh lockdowns, election uncertainty and Washington gridlock stalling a new round of pandemic relief.
With equities under pressure, investors often move into defensive plays such as Treasuries, driving rates lower. Still, the yield on the 10-year remained within the 6-basis-point range it has held since the Fed's most recent policy statement on Sept. 16.
"Overall, we are seeing fixed income markets exude a great deal of calmness and a calm approach in contrast to what we are seeing in equities," said Bill Merz, head of fixed income research at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
"That is during a time when equity markets have experienced significant volatility, significant downside, and 10-year yields have done virtually nothing."
The yield on 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR was down 0.2 basis points at 0.669 percent.
Powell said the central bank should not be used to funnel aid for small businesses in need as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was willing for the Fed to loosen the standards of the Main Street program and allow loans as small as $100,000. [nL2N2GJ0K1]
Treasuries had little reaction to economic data which showed U.S. home sales surged to their highest level in nearly 14 years in August, as the housing market remains a strength of the economy.
The two-year US2YT=RR U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was down 0.2 basis points at 0.135 percent.
Results from an early afternoon auction of $52 billion of two-year notes showed soft demand, with primary dealers accounting for 33.4% of accepted bids, compared to an average of 32.3%, according to a note from BMO Capital Markets rates strategist Ben Jeffery.
A closely watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve measuring the gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes US2US10=RR, seen as an indicator of economic expectations, was at 53.2 basis points, rebounding from a two-week low of 51.2 hit on Monday.
September 22 Tuesday 2:22PM New York / 1822 GMT
US T BONDS DEC0 UScv1
10YR TNotes DEC0 TYcv1
Current Yield %
Net Change (bps)
Three-month bills US3MT=RR
Six-month bills US6MT=RR
Two-year note US2YT=RR
Three-year note US3YT=RR
Five-year note US5YT=RR
Seven-year note US7YT=RR
10-year note US10YT=RR
20-year bond US20YT=RR
30-year bond US30YT=RR
DOLLAR SWAP SPREADS
Net Change (bps)
U.S. 2-year dollar swap spread
U.S. 3-year dollar swap spread
U.S. 5-year dollar swap spread
U.S. 10-year dollar swap spread
U.S. 30-year dollar swap spread
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sonya Hepinstall)
((email@example.com; @ChuckMik; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))
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