Treasury yields fluctuate on economic data, US stocks retreat

(May 3rd, 2012) The yield on 10-year benchmark Treasury remained below 2 percent for the 15th day in row as investors preferred the relative safety of treasury bonds in an uncertain environment.

Treasury yields fluctuated as a weekly decline in jobless claims was followed by a lower-than-estimated services growth reading that includes financial services, retail, health care, construction and hotel industries. The yield on benchmark 10-year notes moved little at 1.93 percent after the ISM service-sector index dropped to 53.5% in April from 56 percent in the prior month. The yield had dropped to 1.90 percent yesterday after ADB payroll data fell short of expectations.

The iShares Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) shed 3 cents to end at $117.22 while the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) gained 11 cents to close at $83.85.

US stocks retreated Thursday as investors digested conflicting economic news and took a cautious approach ahead of the government’s monthly jobs report on Friday. Sentiments were lifted earlier in the day over a decline in weekly jobless claims ahead of Friday’s all-important April- job reading.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 61.98 points, or 0.5 percent, to 13,206.59, after PC maker Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) tumbled 3.1 percent on the day. General Motors (GM) dropped more than 2 percent despite posting strong growth in the domestic market as European operations dented the bottom line.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) dropped 10.74 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1391.57 with energy stocks retreating the most among its 10 business groups. Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM) surged 7.6 percent to end the day at a record price of $90.69. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc (GMCR) slumped 48 percent after it lowered its 2012 guidance.

The NASDAQ Composite Inc (COMP) tanked 35.55 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 3024.30 as markets turned choppy.

For every stock advancing, nearly two stocks declined on the NYSE.

Oil futures for June delivery dropped to a two-week low of $102.54 a barrel, a decline of 2.6 percent over yesterday.

Gold futures for June delivery tumbled $19.20, a drop of 1.2 percent, to $1,634.80 an ounce.

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