EURO GOVT-Bunds rebound after slide, caution before euro zone finmins meet

Mon Oct 8, 2012 5:20am EDT

Related Topics

* Bunds rise after Friday's losses

* Stock markets down on global growth worries

* Expectations for euro zone meeting low

By Ana Nicolaci da Costa

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - German Bund futures rebounded on Monday after a sell-off the previous session, although investors were reluctant to take big positions before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers later in the day. German Bund futures were 48 ticks higher on the day at 141.35, having fallen 80 ticks on Friday as a surprise drop in U.S. unemployment underpinned appetite for riskier assets.

"The market was probably a little bit oversold on the back of the non-farm number (U.S. jobs numbers) on Friday," one trader said.

"I went long after the dip on the non-farm. Historically, if you get a big move one way or the other it always retraces itself within 24 to 48 hours."

The volume of trading was expected to be thinner than usual due to a holiday in the United States.

There is also lingering uncertainty over the timing of a possible Spanish bailout that would likely trigger European Central Bank bond buying. A meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday was expected to shed little light on the issue.

Euro zone finance ministers will formally launch the euro zone's permanent, 500 billion euro bailout fund on Monday, and will also discuss an expected request by the Spanish government for a precautionary credit line from the ESM.

Expectations that Spain will ask for aid has taken yields on Spanish bonds sharply lower in recent months, but analysts say for them to remain low, action is necessary.

"The guessing game will continue but the market will increasingly realise that at the end of the day there will be more debt mutualisation coming through, so we think Bunds remain vulnerable despite the sell-off we have seen on Friday after the payrolls," Rainer Guntermann, strategist at Commerzbank said.

"If anything our strategy recommendation would be to sell into strength."

RISK AVERSION

On Friday, the U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 7.8 percent in September and reached its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office.

But analysts said the number was not enough to dispel fears about the global growth outlook, with signs that China is slowing and as the euro zone continued to struggle with the debt crisis.

Rabobank said in a research note that a bull-flattening trend, where longer-dated bond yields fall more sharply than shorter-dated ones, was likely to continue.

They added that the spread in yields between the euro zone periphery and its core could also persist as the crisis drags on, highlighting concerns over Spain.

Ten-year Spanish government bond yields were flat at 5.71 percent Spanish borrowing costs over two years were 4.6 bps higher at 3.20 percent.

Alessandro Giansanti, rate strategist at ING, said 10-year yields could rise to a maximum of 6 percent as markets try to push Madrid into a rescue, but investors would be reluctant to sell much further for fear of being caught off guard by the ECB.

"Investors are a bit worried about taking a wrong position," he said. "Taking a short (selling) position at this level, there is always the risk that at some point they will force Spain into asking for support."

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