Interest rates held steady on Tuesday amid a fresh crop of worrisome economic data. The yield on the Treasury's 30-year bond finished unchanged at its record closing low of 6.67%. But short-term rates fell slightly. The bond-equivalent yield on three-month Treasury bills dropped to 3.10% from 3.11%, while that on one-year bills dropped to 3.44% from 3.46%.
Stocks fell on the weak economic data. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 11.35 points to 3,518.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 1.16 points to 450.69. And the Nasdaq composite index fell 1.77 points to 701.07.
Dollar Gains on the Yen
The dollar was mixed, falling to 1.6888 German marks from 1.6960 but rising to 106.45 yen from 106.25.
The markets focused on two economic reports, both of which pointed to a slowing economy.
The Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes fell 21% in May, the steepest slide in 13 years. The decline wiped out a 23% increase in April. The department also said the index of leading economic indicators fell 0.3% in May.
In addition, the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence fell to 58.9 in June, down three points from May.
Concern over Jobs Data
But a rise in precious-metals prices, a private survey showing rising department-store sales, and some concern about Friday's employment report put pressure on the long end, market analysts said.
"There was some hunkering down in anticipation of the employment report, which will determine whether the rally will continue," said William Sullivan, money market economist for Dean Witter, Discover & Co.