Bonds

10-year Treasury yield hovers near all-time low

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note is trading near its record low on Thursday as concerns over the impact of the coronavirus dogged financial markets around the globe.

The 10-year Treasury yield fell three basis points to 1.28% after dropping to below 1.25% for the first time ever earlier in the session. The 30-year Treasury yield dipped two basis points to 1.77%.

The benchmark 10-year rate has fallen 20 basis points since Monday in a reflection of global demand for the relative safety and positive yield U.S. debt offers. Bond yields fall as prices rise.

The move lower in yields also reflects traders' expectations the Federal Reserve will step in at some point and cut rates. However, many economists doubt the central bank will deliver such relief and whether it will be effective.

"Wednesday's attempted sell-off quickly reversed as reasons to think the safe-haven rally had gone too far were met with the realities of a still-expanding outbreak," wrote Ian Lyngen, head of rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets. "News that several dozen cases were under investigation near New York City were just an exacerbating factor; it's certain that more infections in varying locations will be announced before too long."

"The prospects are quickly building for global central banks to foam the proverbial runway in hopes of a softer landing than might otherwise occur," he added. "That said, there is an argument that the effectiveness of a rate cut or two in combating the outbreak isn't worth using up the ammunition which will eventually be required to address a 'real' downturn in the domestic economy."

The coronavirus, which began in Wuhan, China, has spread across the globe in recent weeks and sparked fears that it could hamper global economic activity if unchecked by effective government intervention.

More than 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, the vast majority in China. The disease has killed 3,000 deaths people, including at least 2,600 in China, according to the World Health Organization.

Treasurys

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday the first possible community transmission of the coronavirus in the United States, a worrisome development that eclipsed President Donald Trump's attempt to calm markets. The person is a resident of Northern California and didn't have a relevant travel history or exposure to another patient with the virus, the CDC said.

Economic data on Thursday didn't help the market sentiment. Orders for durable goods slipped 0.2% last month after climbing 2.9% in December. U.S. weekly jobless claims totaled 219,000, more than 212,000 expected.

Traders have fled equities for the safety of U.S. debt all week amid mounting concerns about the disease's effect on global manufacturing, exports and consumption. Saudi Arabia has suspended the entry of foreigners for pilgrimage and tourism purposes, while a Japanese woman has become the first person to contract the virus for a second time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has plunged 2,034 points, more than 7%, since the opening of trade Monday morning and remains on track for its worst week since October 2008 and the financial crisis. The S&P 500 is down a similar 6.6% for the week, on pace for its worst week since 2011.

The rapid spread of the virus worldwide has wiped more than $3.6 trillion from global stock markets by Wednesday's close.