Treasury yields higher following stimulus, vaccine news

Traders signal offers in the Ten-Year Treasury Note Options pit at the Chicago Board of Trade.

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The 10-year Treasury yield rose to the highest level in a year in a rapid move on Friday, a sign of greater optimism about a sharp economic comeback from the pandemic, but also a reflection of rising fears of inflation in the wake of a new $1.9 trillion stimulus package that will quicken the recovery even more and balloon government spending.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note advanced to 1.619% at 11:45 a.m. ET and briefly reached 1.642%, its highest level in more than a year. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose 10 basis points to 2.385%. Yields move inversely to prices and 1 basis point equals 0.01%.

The moves in yields dented U.S. stocks with the S&P 500 dropping 0.3%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost more than 1% on worries of rising interest rates.

Treasury yields climbed after Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package into law on Thursday afternoon.

The plan will send direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans. Direct deposits will start hitting Americans’ bank accounts as soon as this weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

In addition to announcing his plan to make Covid vaccines available to all adults aged 18 and above, Biden said in his first primetime address to the nation on Thursday evening, that Americans should hopefully be able to gather in small groups to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Yields were also higher after the number of weekly new jobless claims came in lower than expected on Thursday, totaling 712,000 for the week ended March 6, below the 725,000 estimate.

The 10-year yield has risen rapidly recently, shooting up from 1% since the end of January, amid concerns about rising inflation. These concerns have been compounded by fears that the U.S. government’s fiscal relief package, alongside the reopening of the economy, could stimulate it too quickly and cause a surge in prices. 

Investors will be watching for next week’s Federal Reserve decision on interest rates and commentary about the central bank’s stance on the rising bond yields.

“If the bond market selloff intensifies leading up to the March 17th FOMC decision, the Fed may finally have to push back against the move in Treasury yields,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA told clients. “The Fed has clearly stuck to the script that tighter financial conditions or disorderly markets would warrant action and if yields maintain a skyrocketing trajectory, they will become more vocal.”

There are no auctions due to be held Friday.

with reporting from CNBC’s Jesse Pound and Yun Li.

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