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Treasury yields flat amid mixed economic data

Treasury yields held steady on Friday as investors parsed through new economic data.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was flat at around 0.706% in early trading, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also little changed at 1.428%. Bond yields fall as their prices rise.

Data on Friday showed retail sales rose 1.2% for the month of July, missing the expected increase of 2.3% from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. However, excluding autos, the gain was 1.9%, which was above the 1.2% estimate.

Electronics and appliance sales saw monthly sales jump 22.9% while clothing increased 5.7% and bars and restaurants, an industry especially battered by the coronavirus, were up 5%. 

“Overall, evidence that consumption remains in reasonable shape given the lockdown realities of the pandemic,” Ian Lynegn, BMO’s head of U.S. rates, said in a note. 

On Thursday, jobs data showed that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits was 963,000 last week. It’s the first time the figure has fallen below 1 million since March, when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S.

Meanwhile, a Treasury bond sale Thursday met with weak demand, Reuters reported, which also pushed yields higher. The 10-year note hit its highest level since June 24, while the 30-year reached its highest level since July 7.

On Friday, investors will be monitoring any developments in the coronavirus crisis. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday he “isn’t happy” with the way the pandemic is progressing in the U.S., referring to a “disturbing” uptick in the number of positive Covid-19 tests in some areas of the U.S.

Separately, Democrats and Republicans said they were no closer to a deal on the next round of coronavirus aid, indicating that the impasse could drag on for some time.

So far, more than 20,900,000 people around the world have contracted the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and over 755,000 deaths have been reported.

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