TREASURIES-Prices little changed as global woes offset U.S. data
* Appetite for riskier assets offset by global growth concerns * Fed not expected to halt asset purchases anytime soon * Lipper data shows money flowing out of bond funds in the latest week By Chris Reese NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices were little changed on Friday as a recent string of upbeat U.S. data was offset by lingering demand for safety against an uncertain global backdrop. U.S. data has fueled optimism about the global economy, showing this week that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week, while retail sales expanded at their fastest clip in five months in February. Data late last week also showed robust U.S. jobs growth in February and a dip in the unemployment rate. Still, some investors say there has not been enough evidence of a recovery to spur Federal Reserve officials to remove their economic stimulus of buying $85 billion per month of mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries any time soon. "The doves on the committee will unequivocally want to see more progress made on the employment backdrop before they even contemplate tightening the reins on the latest round of (quantitative easing)," said Michael Cloherty, head of U.S. rates strategy at RBC Capital Markets in New York. The Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, although Cloherty said it is unlikely to signal a slowing of debt purchases just yet. "We will need to see the current pace of job gains and declining unemployment rate continue for a few more months before the discussion about tapering really begins to develop some teeth," he said. However, investors may be getting nervous about the future of their Treasury holdings. Bond funds had their weakest turnout this year as investors committed just $1.23 billion in the week ended March 13, data from Thomson Reuters Lipper service showed on Thursday. That is the smallest inflow since the funds suffered outflows of $331.2 million over the week ended Jan. 2. Outflows from Treasuries in the week ended Wednesday were $1.07 billion, which was the largest amount of outflows since the week ended Oct. 10. Investors seemed to be putting their money into corporate debt, as inflows to corporate investor-grade funds were $2.13 billion in the week, which was the largest since the week ended Jan. 9. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes on Friday were trading 1/32 higher in price with their yield little changed from Thursday at 2.04 percent, while 30-year bonds were yielding 3.24 percent, which was down slightly from a high yield of 3.25 percent in an auction of $13 billion of reopened 30-year bonds on Thursday.
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