TREASURIES-Bond prices rise on consumer, fiscal worries
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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