TREASURIES-Prices steady before supply, State of the Union

Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:18am EST

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* Prices firm, yields hold in recent range
    * Treasury to sell $72 billion in three-, 10-, 30-year bonds
    * Focus on sequester ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union

    By Karen Brettell
    NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries held steady on
Monday in light volume before new Treasury supply this week, and
as investors focused on President Obama's State of the Union
address on Tuesday.
    The White House said on Friday that government spending cuts
due to take effect on March 1 would have harsh consequences for
ordinary Americans and the U.S. economy. 
    Attention on the issue of the so-called sequester is
expected to pick up as the March deadline approaches, and fears
over economic damage from the cuts may add a bid to Treasuries.
    "We're several weeks away from the soft date of the
sequester so people will be looking to see if any progress is
made," said Jason Rogan, managing director in Treasuries trading
at Guggenheim Partners in New York.
    "As we get closer to March I think it will help to move the
market one way or another with the rhetoric coming out of
Washington," he added.
    Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were steady on
price on Monday to yield 1.96 percent. The notes are seen
trading in a range from around 1.90 percent to 2.04 percent. 
    New Treasury supply this week may begin to weigh on prices,
though large buybacks by the Federal Reserve are expected to cap
weakness.
    The Treasury will sell $72 billion in new debt, including
$32 billion in three-year notes on Tuesday, $24 billion in
10-year notes on Wednesday and $16 billion in 30-year bonds on
Thursday, which may weigh on prices.
    At the same time the Federal Reserve will undergo two
purchases of long bonds this week as part of its ongoing
purchase program, including between $1.25 billion and $1.75
billion in long dated debt due from 2036 to 2042 on Monday.
    It will further make two buybacks in the 10-year sector and
five-year sector.
    Trading volumes were lessened overnight on Monday as China
and Japan both closed markets for national holidays.
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