Treasury yields down on coronavirus vaccine progress, economic data

U.S. government debt prices were slightly higher Thursday morning as concerns over rising coronavirus cases stateside and U.S.-China tensions tempered optimism arising from progress toward a vaccine.

At around 2 a.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was lower at 0.6250% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond edged down to 1.3212%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Yields had received a boost Wednesday after biotech firm Moderna said its potential Covid-19 vaccine had produced a strong immune response in early-stage human trials.

However, cases of the coronavirus continue to surge in the U.S., with Texas reporting a record daily rise in new cases on Wednesday as nationwide infections reach 3.5 million.

Meanwhile, relations between Washington and Beijing continue to sour, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday saying that the U.S. will impose visa restrictions on Chinese companies such as tech giant Huawei, which he accused of facilitating human rights violations.

The White House also said that President Donald Trump has not ruled out imposing sanctions on Chinese officials as part of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, the punitive measures signed Tuesday against China for its handling of Hong Kong.

Key economic data will be on investors’ radar on Thursday, with June’s U.S. retail sales figures due at 8:30 a.m. ET, an indicator of the extent to which activity continued to recover as lockdown measures were lifted. Last week’s jobless claims figures are also due at 8:30 a.m. ET, with analysts expecting 1.29 million new claims after the previous week’s better-than-expected 1.314 million.

Auctions will be held Thursday for $35 billion each of 4-week and 8-week Treasury bills.