Treasury yields edge lower as stock-market weakness draws haven buying

Treasury prices rose slightly Monday, pushing yields lower, after modest weakness in stocks helped give a bullish tilt to the bond market, as investors sought out haven assets.

Traders will enjoy a holiday-shortened week as stock and bond markets will be closed for Good Friday on April 19.

The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.62% was down 0.7 basis points to 2.553%. The two-year note yield TMUBMUSD02Y, -0.17% was virtually unchanged at 2.391% The 30-year bond yield TMUBMUSD30Y, -0.20% fell 0.9 basis points to 2.963%. Debt prices move inversely to yields.

In trading thinned by the holiday week, analysts say they anticipate bonds to take their cue from the performance of risk assets and stocks this week as investors watch if S&P 500 companies’ first-quarter earnings will decline SPX, -0.06%  for the first time in three years. If equities lose their upward momentum this week, appetite for haven assets could send prices for government paper higher, and yields lower.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Averag e DJIA, -0.10%   were on course to end lower Monday, after banks Citigrou p C, -0.06%   and Goldman Sachs GS, -3.82%   reported sharp declines in revenues.

“An earnings contraction doesn’t necessarily portend a true economic recession; much the same as the inversion of the three-month bill/10-year yields curve doesn’t. That said, there is mounting evidence of the fallout from the known economic headwinds — to say nothing of those yet to be revealed,” said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rates strategy, in a Monday note.

Trade tensions, bad weather, a government shutdown and rising input costs have all been cited as obstacles against further earnings growth among the U.S.’s largest firms. The consensus estimate is for earnings to fall 4.7% in the first quarter, FactSet data shows.

See: Risk

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