Flight to bonds sends yields below key level; stocks mixed


U.S. bond yields fell below a key level on Wednesday as investors sought safety in bonds, and stocks steadied ahead of a readout on U.S. monetary policies later in the day.

The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes was down 7 basis points to 1.300%, having fallen to 1.2960% earlier, a 4-1/2-month low. Yields fall when investors bid up the price by buying bonds.

Doubts about the strength of the global economy and possible resurgence of COVID-19 variants had set investors on edge, adding to concern about when and how much the U.S. Federal Reserve will tilt towards fighting inflation and reduce support for the economy.

“There’s a sense with recent economic data that even if there are some Fed members likely to look towards tapering (support for the economy), the overall policy will stay very loose and uninterrupted because we are not seeing anything indicative of ‘too hot,'” said Juan Perez, FX strategist at Tempus Inc in Washington.

“In fact, global risks have gone up, so with doubt over interest rates as well as inflationary growth, the buck could gain and there’s not much behind yields as a booster.”

Stock prices were mixed in early U.S. trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 107.57 points, or 0.31 percent, to 34,469.8, but the broader S&P 500 had gained 5.38 points, or 0.12 percent, to 4,348.92.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, added 17.09 points, or 0.12 percent, to 14,680.73.

Investors have been nervous about riskier assets ahead of the release Wednesday of the June policy minutes, expected to show how serious members are about tapering their asset buying and how early rate hikes could begin.

“If the minutes are really pushing towards tapering, we are going to see gold rise, the dollar rise and equities fall,” said Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM.

The MSCI world stocks index was little changed at 723.52, after hitting a record high of 726.11 early on Tuesday.

European stocks gained 0.52% after a weak session on Tuesday. German stocks rose 0.83% and Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.5%.

Expectations of a hawkish Fed tone helped the dollar rally against a basket of currencies to 92.541, up from a low of 92.003 on Tuesday and moving towards recent three-month highs. Around 1454 GMT, the dollar index was up 0.27 points or 0.29 percent, at 92.816.

The euro was last down 0.27 percent, at $ 1.1790, while Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.58 percent, at 1,768.23.