TREASURIES-Bond prices rise on consumer, fiscal worries

Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:44am EST

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NEW YORK, Dec 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices rose
on Wednesday in light, post-Christmas volume as data showing
disappointing holiday sales and the lack of progress toward a
budget deal in Washington stoked safety bids for bonds.
    Sluggish consumer spending combined with the risk of a
shrinkage in government spending stemming from the 'fiscal
cliff' - a package of automatic federal tax hikes and spending
cuts worth $600 billion - set to go into effect next year will
likely hinder U.S. economic growth in 2013, a scenario that is
friendly for holding Treasuries even with their measly yields.
    President Barack Obama is due back in Washington early
Thursday for a final effort to negotiate a deal with Congress to
avert or at least postpone the fiscal cliff, but traders have
turned glum that even a temporary fix will be attained by the
Monday deadline.
    "The market seemed resigned that they might not get a grand
bargain done before the end of the year. The best it can hope
for is a 'kick the can down road' kind of deal so they could
pick it up again early next year," said Larry Milstein, head of
government and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co. in New
York.
    Benchmark 10-year notes were 5/32 higher in
price to yield 1.758 percent, down 1.7 basis points from late on
Monday.
    The U.S. bond market was closed on Tuesday for Christmas.
Most major markets were in Europe remained closed on Wednesday.
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