TREASURIES-Bonds little changed: auction, retail sales in focus

TOKYO Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:22am EST

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TOKYO Feb 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries were little changed in Asia on Wednesday, with many investors looking out to a 10-year debt auction and retail sales data later in the day to potentially pull the market out of its recent trading ranges.

* The 10-year notes were yielding 1.973 percent, little changed from late U.S. levels and comfortably within their trading band of 1.93 to 2.05 percent since late January.

* The market is likely to be capped for now as it braces for the Treasury's offer of $24 billion in 10-year notes on Wednesday and $16 billion in 30-year bonds on Thursday.

* Another focus for the day is January U.S. retail sales data, due at 1430 GMT, which should shed light on whether the higher payroll tax this year is prodding consumers to hold onto more of their paychecks.

* Economists expect retail sales to have risen just 0.1 percent in January. "Since the market is looking for a fairly weak figure, Treasury yields could jump if we see a surprisingly strong number," said a bond fund manager at a U.S. asset management firm.

* There was no immediate market reaction to President Barack Obama's State of Union speech, in which he called for support for his plans to create middle-class jobs.

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