Treasuries raced higher Thursday, driving government debt yields down to historic lows, as recession fears pummeled stock markets and powered a frantic rush to the safety of bonds and cash.
The gains in bonds, which benefit from economic hardship, were almost inversely proportional to the plunge in stocks. The benchmark S&P 500 index slid to its lowest since 1997, erasing more than a decade of stock market gains.
The fall of longer-dated note and bond yields to five-decade lows marked a new extreme of risk aversion among investors, many of whom have not experienced such tumultuous financial market turmoil in their lifetimes. Many analysts are now starting to worry that there is at least an outside chance of a depression, not just a recession.
That is a serious flight to quality and deep concern about the stock market.