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Jul 16, 2018

Bonds I CNBC

economic data, Putin-Trump summit in focus

Alexandra Gibbs, Thomas Franck

The yield on the benchmark two-year Treasury note reached its highest level since August 2008 Monday after the government reported that U.S. retail sales posted a strong gain in June.
The two-year note yield hit a high of 2.611 percent, its highest level since Aug. 6, 2008, when the note yielded as high as 2.606 percent.
Increased purchases of motor vehicles helped contribute to a 0.5 percent uptick in retail sales last month, with data for May revised higher to show sales rising 1.3 percent instead of the previously reported 0.8 percent gain, the Department of Commerce reported Monday.
May's rise in retail sales was the largest since September 2017.
Excluding volatile automobile, gasoline, building materials and food services components, retail sales were unchanged last month. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was higher at around 2.855 percent at 4:18 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was in the black at 2.96 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland on Monday, to discuss a range of topics including the fragile relationship between their two nations and security issues.
The meeting comes three days after the U.S. Justice Department announced that special counsel Robert Mueller had secured an indictment charging a dozen Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democrats to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and with stealing information of around half a million U.S. voters.
Elsewhere, investors will be keeping a close eye on the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and major economies including China and the European Union.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell will speak in front of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee about the state of the economy starting on Tuesday. The central bank is widely expected to hike the federal funds rate 25 basis points in its September meeting in what would be its third hike so far this year.
Some worry that the central bank may be too aggressive in its plans to raise borrowing costs. The so-called yield curve between two-year Treasury note yields and 10-year note yields is moving closer and closer to zero, meaning that there is less payoff for investors willing to hold debt for a longer period of time.
At the latest reading, the spread between the yield on the 10-year note and the two-year note was 24.63 basis points, down from above 90 basis points early in the year.
When the yield on a shorter duration security rises above a longer duration security, or inverts, it is seen as a recession warning. An inverted yield curve has proven to be a reliable indicator over the years.
—CNBC's Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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