Jittery About Loss, Investors Stuff Cash In 0% T-Bills

Willing to take nothing for their money
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2008 12:26 PM CST
Investors are buying zero-yield bonds. It's about as effective as shoving the money under a mattress, which some investors aren't allowed to do.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – The results of yesterday’s short-term bond auction were staggering. Investors snapped up $30 billion worth of Treasuries at a 0% yield—essentially lending the government money for free, the New York Times reports. Earlier, some investors even accepted a negative yield to park their cash in three-month Treasury bills. “The last time this happened was the Great Depression,” one analyst said.

The implications were not lost on Wall Street, where the Dow swung to a 242.85 point loss. Investors would rather get nothing for their money than risk it on stocks or corporate bonds. On the bright side, it means the government can borrow cheaply for its rescue plans. But when “people are so busy just protecting the cash they have, it’s not a good sign,” the analyst warns.