TREASURIES-Bond prices fall as stocks draw buyers

Tue May 14, 2013 4:24pm EDT

Related Topics

* Dow & S&P climb to new highs, banks rally
    * Fed buys $3.31 bln in longer-dated Treasuries
    * Producer, consumer price indices due later in week

    By Ellen Freilich
    NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) - Prices of U.S. Treasuries fell
on Tuesday, lifting benchmark yields to seven week highs as
investors instead directed money into riskier assets such as
stocks.
    Key U.S. stock indexes rose to new highs, lead by large-cap
bank stocks, damping demand for safe-haven U.S. debt. 
    "It's all about equities," said Dimitri Delis, interest-rate
strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. The attitude among
investors is "let's go buy risky assets, the Fed has our back."
    Prices of 10-year notes slid 12/32 to yield 1.97
percent, up from 1.91 percent late on Monday.
    Prices of 30-year bonds fell 1 point to yield
3.19 percent, from 3.12 percent late on Monday.
    Michael Lorizio, senior fixed-income trader at Boston-based
John Hancock Asset Management, said it was "somewhat surprising"
that yields had reached those levels "because 1.85 percent on
the 10-year yield and 3.05 percent on 30-year yields both seemed
like spots where we would see significant buying interest."
    With the U.S. Federal Reserve engaged in a massive easing
program, at least for now, some investors are looking for higher
returns than they can get in the safe-haven U.S. Treasury
market. Thus, cash they might have put to work in bonds is going
into stocks.
    But a "great rotation" of money from bonds directly into
stocks is less discernible, analysts said, and money going into
stocks is more likely to be coming from cash on the sidelines.
    "There is still $2.6 trillion sitting in money market mutual
funds which is very elevated," noted Wesley Sparks, head of U.S.
fixed income at Schroder Investment Management in New York.
    Speculation has swirled recently about when the Fed could
slow or even stop its $85 billion per month buying of Treasuries
and mortgage-backed securities. 
    But with inflation still well below the Fed's 2 percent
target and the economy sluggish, some argued that monetary
policymakers have little incentive to slow down yet.
    "We have inflation going to 1 percent by this summer," said
John Briggs, a Treasuries strategist with RBS in Stamford,
Connecticut.
    With the Fed on track to miss its 2 percent target, as
measured by the PCE, the Fed's preferred personal
consumption expenditures price index, by a full percentage
point, "we're supposed to ... think of them slowing the pace of
accommodation? It just doesn't make sense," Briggs said.
    Analysts forecast U.S. growth could remain lackluster for
perhaps years. Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of bond manager
Pimco, said Pimco sees growth in the 2 percent area for the next
three to five years. 
    "If you look at the larger picture you would have to feel
confident that we would remain in this established range on
yields, or a touch higher. We haven't seen a dramatic change in
the macro economic picture; global growth is below trend," said
John Hancock's Lorizio.
    Still, because the market is so focused on the economy, an
upside surprise (in growth or inflation) could be a catalyst for
bonds to sell off some more, he said.
    More inflation figures are slated for later in the week, as
well, and those could underscore the lack of price pressures in
the economy.
    With data showing U.S. import prices fell in April, "we
expect that the decline in oil and gasoline prices will lead to
declines in the headline PPI data tomorrow, (and) in the
headline CPI on Thursday," said Thomas Simons, money market
economist at Jefferies & Co in New York.   
    As part of its asset purchases, the Fed on Tuesday bought
$3.31 billion in Treasuries maturing between May 2020 and
February 2023. 
    On the other end of the sovereign debt spectrum, ratings
agency Fitch upgraded its sovereign credit rating for Greece by
one notch on Tuesday, citing the country's progress in cutting
its budget deficit and the receding risk of its euro zone
exit.
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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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