Long-term interest rates may dive further into record-low territory this week, as economists predict more worrisome economic indicators.
On Friday, the 30-year bond finished at 6.70%, wiping out the previous record close of 6.72%, set on March 20.
Mark Grant, managing director for capital markets at Rodman & Renshaw in Chicago, said 6.75% had been a resistance point for the 30-year bond.
"Finally breaking through 6.75% is a technically important point for the market," he said.
Now all eyes are on the June employment report, due out this Friday.
John Lonski, senior economist at Moody's Investors Service Inc., said many market analysts are revising downward their estimates of June growth in nonfarm payrolls to about 100,000 new jobs from 150,000.
This would be a sharp drop from the previous two months -- payrolls expanded 216,000 in April and 209,000 in May.
"If there is disappointing news on employment, there is a very good chance we could see 6.65% on the long bond," Mr. Lonski said.
Also due out this week is the National Association of Purchasing Management's monthly report on the manufacturing sector.
"It would not be a total surprise if the NAPM index gave a reading below 50%," Mr. Lonski said.
A reading under 50% indicates the manufacturing sector is declining. The index was at 51.1% last month.
Events in Washington are also contributing to the current low-interest-rate environment.
The Senate last Friday passed the President's deficit-cutting plan. The proposal for new taxes and spending cuts are expected to slow the economy, thereby benefiting bonds.
Reports that President Clinton will hold off on health care reform until the fall are also helping to keep rates low.
"Small business had been looked on as a major source of employment," Mr. Lonski said. "But the possibility of health care reform has put small businesses in a state of limbo in terms of employment."
The current concern about economic growth marks a dramatic change in psychology.
Last Wednesday, bond yields surged in response on a New York Times report that the Federal Reserve is prepared to raise interest rates to show its anti-inflation resolve.
But the market corrected itself the next day. Several economic reports convinced investors that the Fed would not tighten.
The government last week revised downward the growth in first-quarter gross domestic product to 0.7% from the earlier estimate of 0.9%.