Treasuries fall slightly as losing streak continues, Stocks gain on strong economic data

(March 15th, 2012)  Treasuries ended the day little changed after witnessing heavy losses earlier in the session, pushing benchmark 10-year yields down from the highest level in more than four months.  Yields on 10-year notes closed nearly flat at 2.28 percent after hitting 2.35 percent in overnight trading. Yields on 30-year bonds settled lower at 3.41 percent, after climbing to 3.49 percent in early trade. According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Bond Index, 10-year Treasuries have already lost 2.5 percent this month, and are heading towards their biggest monthly drop since Dec. 2010.

The iShares Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) added 0.17 points, or 0.15 percent, for the day, while the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) was up 0.02 percent over Wednesday’s close.

US stocks gained ground Thursday, pushing the S&P 500 index past 1,400 for the first time since June 2008 as better-than-expected economic news kept flowing in. The latest round of data showed jobless claims at their lowest level in four years, manufacturing activity expanding and inflation under control.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) climbed 58.66 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,252.76, extending its gains for the seventh straight day. Bank of America Corp (BAC) was the top blue-chip gainer, while Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO) dropped the most after the network equipment maker announced plans to acquire NDS Group Ltd. for about $5 billion. Another banking stock JP Morgan Chase (JPM), and General Electric (GE) also performed well on Thursday, while Chevron (CVX) and Home Depot (HD) retreated.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) added 8.32 points, or 0.6 percent, to end at 1402.60, its highest level since June 2008. Only utilities in the 10-sector index closed lower while financial advanced the most.

The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite (COMP) rose 15.64 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 3056.37, its highest level since Nov. 2000.

For every two stocks declining, roughly three advanced on the NYSE.

Oil prices continued to slide with crude for April delivery closing at $105.11 a barrel, down 32 cents.

Gold futures for April delivery rose $16.60 to close at $1,659.50 an ounce.

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