Treasuries Finish Solidly Higher

Intensifying tension in the Middle East, and declines in the stock and housing markets lifted Treasury prices

A premium continued to be paid for Treasuries Thursday as Iraq barbs and mostly softer data conspired to drive stocks lower again. Initial jobless claims eased 9,000, but from upwardly revised levels the week prior and remained entrenched above 400K, with the four-week moving average and continued claims marching higher. Housing starts tumbled 2.2% from elevated levels, led by weakness in the Midwest. Only a modest rebound in the Philly Fed index sparked some lunchtime profit taking.

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