Bund futures extend Bernanke-fuelled gains
LONDON, July 18
LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) - German Bund futures edged up on Thursday, extending gains made in the previous session after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke left the door open to changing U.S. plans to reduce monetary stimulus.
In the first of two days of congressional testimony, Bernanke stuck closely to a timeline to wind down bond buying, but said nothing was set in stone.
Bund futures were last 12 ticks higher on the day at 144.06.
"Bunds are going to have a (firming) bias as Bernanke's message is starting to come through," said Jan von Gerich, chief analyst at Nordea.
Investors will also watch a no confidence vote against Portugal's ruling coalition later in the day.
The motion is likely to fail, but markets will be on the lookout for any signals sent by the three main parties, which are holding talks on a broad deal to keep the country's bailout programme on track.
Spain will sell 2-3 billion euros of bonds due 2016, 2018 and 2023 at around 0830 GMT. The small amount on offer should ensure a smooth auction, despite renewed worries about Madrid's investment grade status and a domestic corruption scandal putting pressure on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.