TREASURIES-US 10-yr notes firmer but yield stays above 2 pct

SINGAPORE Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:06am EST

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SINGAPORE Feb 21 (Reuters) - U.S. 10-year Treasuries inched higher in Asia on Thursday, but its gains were limited even as weakness in equities stirred some safe haven bids for bonds.

* Ten-year notes edged up 1/32 in price to yield roughly 2.007 percent, steady from late U.S. trade on Wednesday.

* U.S. Treasuries had risen on Wednesday as a fall in stock prices rekindled investors' appetite for less risky assets.

The S&P 500 index posted its biggest one-day fall in three months on Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve's January meeting showed that a number of Fed officials think the central bank might have to slow or stop buying bonds before seeing the pickup in hiring the programme is designed to deliver.

* Gains in Treasuries over the past couple of days seem tepid relative to the sell-off seen in risky assets, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.

"Although market sentiment is toward risk-off, the yield hasn't dropped below 2 percent... I find that a bit surprising," Okagawa said, referring to moves in the 10-year Treasury yield since Wednesday.

The mild moves in bonds may be a sign that the market is not overly short Treasuries at this juncture, which would limit the need for traders to buy them back to square positions, he added.

* Markets will receive a flurry of data later on Thursday including the consumer price index, weekly jobless claims and existing home sales.

There will also be an auction of 30-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities later on Thursday.

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