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Markets send mixed signals as bund yields head to zero

Stocks are getting closer and closer to all-time highs, and bond yields, which move opposite to prices, are near their lows of the year.

That might normally lead to head-scratching, but both are the by-products of central bank easing, and strategists say U.S. long-end yields could keep moving lower even if the Fed does raise interest rates. Low yields sometimes signal flight to quality trading, the opposite of an environment that could send stocks to new highs.

Investors Thursday will be watching U.S. weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m., wholesale trade data at 10 a.m. and the 30-year bond auction at 1 p.m.. But they will also be watching the action in global bond markets, as the 10-year German Bund yield — at 0.04 percent Thursday — edges closer to zero and threatens to join its Japanese counterpart with negative yields.