Long-dated Treasury yields rose Tuesday and posted their biggest monthly rise since March, with U.S. stock indexes lower but still on track to close near record highs ahead of U.S. labor market data for August due on Friday.
For now, investors appeared to look past a gauge of U.S. consumer confidence, which dropped to the lowest level in six months in August.
What are yields doing?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
rose to 1.303%, compared with 1.284% at 3 p.m. Eastern on Monday. Yields and debt prices move in opposite directions.
The 2-year Treasury note yield
was 0.207%, versus 0.203% late Monday.
The 30-year Treasury bond yield
rose to 1.927 % versus 1.899% Monday afternoon.
For the month, the 10-year rate rose 6.4 basis points and the 30-year yield rose 3.1 basis points — both of which were the largest one-month gains since March, based on 3 p.m. levels, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The two-year rose 1.9 basis points, the largest one-month gain since June.
What’s driving the market?
Treasury yields turned higher as the S&P 500
and Nasdaq Composite indexes
hovered near their closing records. Attention is now turning to this Friday’s U.S. August nonfarm payrolls report.
Data released today showed the U.S. Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence sinking to a six-month low in August as a result of the spreading coronavirus delta variant. Meanwhile, a Chicago area purchasing managers index reading for August dropped to 66.8 from 73.4 previously.
U.S. home prices continued to rise at a record pace in June, according to a leading barometer. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that home prices increased 18.6% from a year ago in June, the third consecutive month of record growth in the more than 30-year history of the index. The separate 20-city index, which measures price appreciation in major metropolitan areas, saw a 19.1% year-over-year gain.
Yields had edged lower on Monday, as investors continued to buy Treasurys in the wake of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s virtual address last week to the Kansas City Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium, in which he signaled support for beginning the process of winding down monthly bond purchases this year but offered no solid timetable. Also, Powell emphasized that the start of the taper process, when it arrives, won’t be meant to signal the timing of interest rate increases.
Analysts said Powell’s remarks put a premium on coming U.S. economic data, such as Wednesday’s ISM and IHS Markit August manufacturing sector purchasing managers indexes and the August ADP private sector jobs report. Friday will bring the release of both the U.S. Labor Department August jobs report and the service sector reports from ISM and IHS Markt. Bullish investors will hope for “Goldilocks” type data that shows the economy is improving, but not running so hot as to accelerate a move by the Fed, analysts said.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, China’s official nonmanufacturing purchasing managers’ index unexpectedly fell into contractionary territory in August, dragged down by efforts to contain the delta variant outbreak.
What analysts are saying
“The U.S. 10-year yield probably needs outright positive surprises from the ISMs and the payrolls to get the 1.37% first resistance back on the radar,” analysts at Brussels-based KBC Bank wrote in a note.
“We saw little in Powell’s speech to dissuade us from the view that November’s Fed meeting will most likely see a tapering announcement, but we suspect that this is a widely shared view and we doubt any significant market response if that proves correct,” said Steve Barrow, head of G-10 strategy at Standard Bank, in a note to clients. “As we have said many times, the danger for the markets is in the data, not in the Fed per se,” he said. “The Fed will only surprise and potentially cause carnage in the market if the data surprises and, so far, these surprises have been modest and, most often to the lower side of market expectations, not the high side.”