NEW YORK — Bond prices surged Friday in active trading, boosted by new economic reports that pointed to a further easing of inflationary pressures.
The Treasury's closely watched 30-year bond jumped about 1 1/2 points, or $15 for every $1,000 in face value. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction from price, fell to 8.19% from 8.32% late Thursday.
Analysts said the bond market got a lift from three economic reports released Friday suggesting that the pace of economic growth is continuing to slow.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term government issues rose 9/32 point to 9/16 point, intermediate maturities advanced 5/8 point to 29/32 point, and 20-year issues jumped 1 1/4 points, according to Telerate Inc., a financial information service.
The movement of a point is equivalent to a change of $10 in the price of a bond with a $1,000 face value.
The Shearson Lehman Hutton daily Treasury bond index, which measures price movements on all outstanding Treasury issues with maturities of a year or longer, rose 8.15 to 1,175.19.
In corporate trading, industrials also gained. Moody's investment grade corporate bond index, which measures total return on a portfolio of 80 corporate bonds with maturities of five years or longer, advanced 1.78 to 324.29.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, was quoted late in the day at 9.50%, down from 9.625% late Thursday.
Gold futures prices surged more than $7 an ounce on New York's Commodity Exchange, capping that market's biggest weekly move in nine months.
Analysts cited the dollar's pronounced weakness as a major factor in the rally, which boosted the spot price of an ounce of gold by $13.40 in five days to $378.50.
Silver and platinum futures prices also advanced.
On other markets, soybean and petroleum futures rose strongly while livestock and meat futures were mixed.
Gold settled $7.10 to $7.60 higher, with the contract for spot delivery at $378.50 an ounce and the more actively traded August contract at $381.80. Silver was 2.7 cents to 3.8 cents higher, with July at $5.338 an ounce.
Friday's rally followed a gain of more than $6 in the gold market on Wednesday and pushed prices through some key points of psychological resistance, which analysts took as a bullish sign.
Soybean futures posted strong gains on the Chicago Board of Trade amid fears of a global supply squeeze wrought by a producer-led halt to Brazilian soybean sales.
Wheat and oat futures retreated while corn was narrowly mixed.
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