TREASURIES-U.S. bond prices rise on month-end buying
* Benchmark note prices set for 5th straight days of gains * "Fiscal cliff" worries underpin support for bond prices * Consumer, factory data support view of fragile U.S. growth By Richard Leong NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - U.S. government debt prices rose on Friday on purchases for month-end portfolio adjustments and ongoing safe-haven bids on anxiety about the lack of progress in budget talks in Washington. Bond prices were on track for a fifth straight day of gains with benchmark yields falling 9 basis points on the week. "You are getting a bit of end-of-the-month buying, which is giving the market a bit of a pop," said Jim Kochan, chief fixed income strategist with Wells Fargo Fund Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. The market has been volatile as investor sentiment changes on whether U.S. President Barack Obama and Congress will reach a timely budget compromise to prevent a series of tax increases and spending cuts from phasing-in next year. This $600 billion fiscal contraction, dubbed the "fiscal cliff," could cause a U.S. recession, according to economists. "We are treading water here to see what the President and the Congress will do next," said Wells' Kochan. Traders have bought and sold Treasuries this week in reaction to recent public remarks from leading Democratic and Republicans lawmakers. President Obama was scheduled to speak about the budget negotiation just after noon (1700 GMT) during a visit to a factory in Pennsylvania in an effort to press his case for raising taxes on the wealthy to narrow the deficit. This budget standoff exacerbated a fragile economic backdrop where growth is still weak and unemployment remains historically high, analysts said. Government data showed Americans cut back their spending for the first time in five months in October, while a private report showed business activity in the upper Midwest region barely grew in November. A wobbly economy together with the risk from the "fiscal cliff" will likely cause the Federal Reserve to cling to its ultra-loose monetary policy, analysts said. The Fed was scheduled to buy $1.75 billion to $2.25 billion in Treasuries that mature in Feb. 2036 to Nov. 2042, which was its latest purchase for 'Operation Twist.' This program due to expire at year-end was intended to lower interest rates in an effort to support the economy. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes traded 4/32 higher in price to yield 1.606 percent, down 1.4 basis points from late on Thursday.
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