TREASURIES-Bonds rise on weak U.S., European data

Wed May 2, 2012 3:56pm EDT

Related Topics

* U.S. private job growth slows more than expected
    * Euro zone factory sector contracts further in April
    * U.S. Treasury, as expected, to sell $72 bln coupon debt


    By Ellen Freilich	
    NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices rose
o n W ednesday as weakness in European manufacturing and slower
private-sector hiring in the United States fueled expectations
of a global slowdown and boosted demand for low-risk
investments.	
    The latest data on both sides of the Atlantic also fed
expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank
might provide more stimulus to support their economies, which
would be positive for the bond market, analysts said.	
    "People are forced to buy because of the weak economic data
here and Europe," said Jason Rogan, director of Treasuries
trading at Guggenheim Partners in New York.	
    U.S. payroll processor ADP said companies added 119,000 jobs
in April, falling short of the expected 177,000 increase and the
smallest monthly rise in seven months. The March increase was
revised down to 201,000 from 209,000. 	
    The government said factory orders fell 1.5
percent in March on a hefty 4.0 percent drop in durable goods
orders. Economists had predicted a 1.6 percent decrease.	
    Data from the euro zone showed a deepening contraction in
manufacturing and intensified worries that even its strongest
economies were feeling the impact of their austerity-stricken
neighbors..	
    "Europe has a very severe growth problem," said Mike Dueker,
chief economist with Russell Investments in Seattle, which
manages about $155 billion.	
    Those concerns revived bids for low-risk U.S. and German
government securities. Five-year and 10-year Bund yields fell to
record lows, according to Reuters data. 	
    Treasuries prices held at key chart resistance levels as
traders remained reluctant to push prices up or make yields test
lower trading ranges before Friday's U.S. April payroll data,
investors said.	
    In the open market, benchmark 10-year Treasury notes
 traded up 6/32 in price to yield 1.92 percent, down
3 basis points from late on Tu esday.	
    The 10-year yield is stuck in a tight trading range. It has
been holding below the key 2-percent chart support level, which
is also the Fed's implicit target on inflation.	
    Thirty-year bonds rose 22/32 in price for a 3.11
percent yield, down 4 basis points from Tuesday's close, and
near a three-month low set more than a week ago.	
    "We have to see whether last month's number would be
reversed," said James Barnes, a portfolio manager at National
Penn Investors Trust Co in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, which
manages $2.5 billion in assets, referring to the March payrolls
report that showed a weaker-than-expected 120,000 increase. 	
    Some analysts said the hiring slowdown in March and April
was a "payback" from earlier this year when construction and
other weather-sensitive industries either fired fewer workers or
hired more of them because of the unusually mild winter.	
    The U.S. Labor Department will release its April jobs report
o n F riday at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Economists expect employers 
likely added 170,000 jobs in April. 	
    	
    POSITIONED FOR PAYROLLS
    Rob Robis, head of fixed-income macro strategies for ING
Investment Management, a firm with $160 billion in assets under
management, said if job growth in April looks as slow - or not
much stronger - than it did in March, that would mean two
straight months of a slower rate of job growth, more convincing
evidence of slower growth for markets than a single weak month.	
    "After the weak ADP number, and even before its release, the
bond market had priced in another weak payrolls number showing
job growth of 160,000 or 170,000," Robis said.	
    That means the risks "are more toward an upside surprise."	
    Robis said with the 10-year yield already at the low end of
its months-long range at 1.92 percent, bonds "won't rally much"
if payrolls added only 140,000 or 150,000 jobs last month.	
    But job growth of 100,000 would be "a large miss to the
downside," he said. "Stocks would sell off and riskier assets
would reprice. That's what it would take to get Treasury yields
to go much lower."	
    Conversely, an upside surprise on payrolls growth, of
200,000 or so, would cause yields to rise, Robis said. But even
then, not by much.	
    "Yields would rise back to the 2 percent area or 2.05
percent," he said.	
    In the supply arena, the Treasury Department said it would
sell a combined $72 billion in new three-, 10- and 30-year debt
next week at its May quarterly refunding, the same amount sold
at its last quarterly refinancing in February. The effort will 
raise $35.3 billion in new cash. 	
    The Treasury said it had not decided whether to begin
issuing floating-rate securities or to accept negative yield
bids at regular bill and coupon debt auctions.  	
    The Federal Reserve sold $1.34 billion in Treasury
Inflation-Protected Securities, part of its $400 billion
"Operation Twist" program that involves selling shorter dated
debt and buying longer-dated issues.
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