TREASURIES-Bonds gain on Greece exit fears
* Investors skeptical Europe leaders will find crisis solution * 10-year note yield near lowest in at least 60 years * 5-year note sale brings record low auction yield By Karen Brettell NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices rose on Wednesday as concerns over repercussions from a possible Greek exit from the euro zone increased demand for safe haven U.S. debt. Euro zone officials have told members of the currency area to prepare contingency plans in case Greece decides to quit the bloc, an eventuality Germany's central bank said would be "manageable." "Comments like that set you up for another round of risk reduction," said Carl Lantz, an interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse in New York. "I don't think the markets in general are set up for a Greek exit. You don't know the unknown unknowns and the knock-on effects and the kind of capital controls that would go along with that. It is a very worrisome proposition," he said. U.S. Treasuries yields have risen off recent lows this week as a lack of negative headlines allowed investors to consolidate positions from a two-month rally in bonds. New risk aversion may send yields back to retest their historical lows. Benchmark 10-year notes were trading 18/32 higher in price to yield 1.72 percent on Wednesday, down from 1.78 percent late Tuesday. The notes last week traded as low as 1.69 percent, only 2 basis points above the lowest in at least 60 years, which was set in September. Investors were skeptical European leaders would reach any wide reaching solutions to ease the debt crisis in the region ahead of a summit today in Brussels. At his first EU summit, new French President Francois Hollande will push for mutualising euro zone debt, an idea that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said can only be discussed when there is much closer fiscal union in Europe. "There's no real solutions or real plans coming out of the summit so there's more flight to quality," said Rick Klingman, a Treasuries trader at BNP Paribas in New York. The sale of $35 billion of five-year notes on Wednesday afternoon brought a record low yield for such an auction, at 0.748 percent. The Treasury will sell $29 billion in seven-year notes on Thursday to round out this week's new debt sales totaling $99 billion. The sale of $35 billion of two-year notes on Tuesday was met with about average demand. Thirty-year Treasury bonds on Wednesday were trading 1-20/32 higher in price to yield 2.79 percent, down from 2.87 percent late Tuesday.
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