Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Treasuries: 10-year yield closing in on 3%

Safe-haven appeal of Treasuries continues to attract investors as fallout from Japan's devastating earthquake sends global stock markets sharply lower.Click the chart for more on bonds. By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. Treasuries rose Tuesday as fallout from Japan's massive earthquake sent global stock markets sharply lower, increasing the safe-haven appeal of bonds.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year note dropped to 3.3% on Tuesday, from 3.35% late Monday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Panic seized Japanese investors Tuesday, with the nation's stock indexes plunging more than 10% as the nation's nuclear crisis deepened in the aftermath of last week's earthquake. The Nikkei 225 index, the most prominent measure of Tokyo market stocks, was down more than 14% at one point in the session.

The 9.0 earthquake in Japan on Friday was the most powerful to hit the country in more than 100 years, triggering massive tsunamis. The confirmed death toll is 2,475, though thousands more are missing and 450,000 people are reported homeless. (CNN: Anxiety in Japan grows as rescue workers find more bodies)

Bonds reacted little to the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee statement, where the central bank kept the nation's interest rate at its 0%-0.25% range and said it would continue its quantitative easing strategy.

The disaster in Japan has compounded uncertainty in financial markets, as investors remain concerned about civil tensions in the Middle East and North Africa. Geopolitical worries tend to send investors to the perceived safety of Treasuries, as they are backed by the U.S. government and are considered safer places to plunk cash.

According to news reports, Japan may opt to sell more of its U.S. Treasury holdings to help pay for rebuilding after the quake. Japan is the second-largest foreign holder of Treasuries, after China.

As of January, Japan held $885.9 billion in Treasuries, according to the monthly Treasury International Capital (TIC) report released Tuesday. China held about $1.2 trillion, according to the report.

"It's a lot of speculation at this point, but it's likely that Japan will indeed sell some of its Treasuries," said Kim Rupert, fixed income analyst at Action Economics. "They're going to have to finance the rebuilding somehow."

The 10-year yield has held in the mid-3% range since for three months, but it has headed to the lower end in recent sessions as international worries remain in the spotlight. The last time the yield dipped below 3% was in early December.

The yield on the 30-year bond slipped to 4.46%, the 5-year yield fell to 1.92% and the yield on the 2-year note held at 0.44%.

By comparison, U.S. stocks were mired in a sharp sell-off Tuesday. Risk appetite was tarnished after news of damage to several Japanese nuclear reactors. Early Tuesday, the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan reported an "explosive impact" at the plant's No. 2 reactor, a day after a hydrogen explosion rocked another reactor.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the risk of radioactive material leaking from the crippled plant was very high, and a government spokesman warned people within 18 miles of the facility to stay indoors.

Nuclear fallout worries rocked other world stock markets as well. European indexes were sharply lower in late trade Tuesday. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.64%3.64%
15 yr fixed2.76%2.76%
5/1 ARM2.90%2.95%
30 yr refi3.66%3.69%
15 yr refi2.79%2.81%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,873.22 44.93 0.25%
Nasdaq 4,933.51 31.74 0.65%
S&P 500 2,099.06 8.96 0.43%
Treasuries 1.85 0.03 1.54%
Data as of 4:22pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.88 0.18 1.22%
Coca-Cola Enterprise... 51.55 0.69 1.36%
Baxalta Inc 45.53 -0.17 -0.37%
Apple Inc 100.35 -0.06 -0.06%
Micron Technology In... 12.31 0.36 3.01%
Data as of May 27

Sections

Unionized Verizon workers who had been striking since mid-April will return back to work on June 1 after negotiating a healthy pay raise and bonus. More

Janet Yellen hinted again Friday that a June or July interest rate hike is a very real possibility. More

The FBI has opened a national security investigation into the hacking of Bangladesh's central bank amid signs that the hack might have come from North Korea. More

The gender pay gap in the labor market is pretty well documented. But the gender gap also exists in the housing market. More