JGB 10-year futures steady despite Nikkei rally

TOKYO Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:23pm EST

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TOKYO Dec 25 (Reuters) - Japanese government bond 10-year futures were flat on Tuesday, supported by month-end demand and expectations of further monetary easing by the Bank of Japan, even though investors' strong risk appetite pushed the Nikkei sharply higher.

* JGB 10-year futures were flat at 144.04 in thin trade, with 4,543 contracts changing hands after the morning session versus last week's daily average of 36,205. The futures held above their five-day moving average at 143.99.

* Prices were unquoted on cash bonds across all maturities, while the Nikkei share average climbed 1.4 percent, led by exporters as the yen hit a 20-month low against the dollar after Japan's incoming prime minister stepped up pressure on the BOJ to ease monetary policy.

* "Given the Nikkei's sharp rise, the JGB market is well supported," said Naomi Muguruma, senior fixed-income strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

"The reason is that we are approaching the end of the month. Usually some index-based investors need to purchase long-term JGBs to match their asset duration to the index.

"Plus, continuous expectations of BOJ monetary easing are also supportive of the short- to medium-term sectors."

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