GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. debt deal hopes steady stocks; short-dated bills pressured
* All eyes on Washington amid signs of progress on deadlock * Wall Street stocks rise after equity gains in Europe, Asia * Dollar fades on view Fed tapering could be delayed By David Gaffen NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Hopes that lawmakers were nearing a deal to avert a U.S. debt default bolstered global equity markets on Friday, but trading in short-dated Treasury debt suggests bond-market investors are concerned the battle will merely be pushed to later in the year. President Barack Obama and Republican leaders appeared closer to ending a political crisis that has closed much of the U.S. government and pushed the country close to default. This helped U.S. stocks to their best day since the beginning of the year on Thursday, and Wall Street extended gains on Friday. Still, one of the proposals involves extending the federal borrowing limit for only about six weeks, temporarily putting off a default that could come as soon as next week. As a result, yields on Treasury bills maturing in late November and throughout December spiked on Friday, as banks and investors shy away from holding debt that is at any risk of delayed interest or principal payments. This had already caused yields on bills due in late October and early November to rise; those yields fell only modestly on Friday. For example, the bills maturing on December 19 now yield 0.205 percent, up from 0.115 percent on Thursday, whereas those bills maturing in January yield about 0.07 to 0.08 percent. "We need the weekend with a minimum of drama before people are comfortable that (a default) is off the table," said Jim Vogel, interest rate strategist at FTN Financial in Memphis. "No one is going to stand down yet from their preparations for what is going to happen." In addition, overnight borrowing costs for banks in the $5 trillion repurchase market - which funds day-to-day operations for banks on Wall Street - remain elevated on concern that a default could ripple through key funding markets. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 1/32 in price to yield 2.681 percent. The 2-year U.S. Treasury note traded flat, yielding 0.35 percent, while the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond was down 1/32 in price to yield 3.736 percent. U.S. stocks were higher, following equity gains across the world, after Thursday's biggest rally on Wall Street since the first trading day of the year. "Once sanity returns, at least temporarily, to Washington the market really should move higher," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. MSCI's world equity index, which tracks stocks in 45 countries, rose 0.7 percent, while in Europe the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top regional shares rose 0.4 percent to 1,250.05. Shares also rose in Asia. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 98.42 points or 0.65 percent, to 15,224.49, the S&P 500 gained 9.4 points or 0.56 percent, to 1,701.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.712 points or 0.79 percent, to 3,790.459. A survey showed U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated in October to its weakest level in nine months as the shutdown undermined Americans' outlook on the economy. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 75.2 in October, down from 77.5 in September. It was the lowest reading since January and fell short of the 76.0 forecast by economists recently polled by Reuters. The dollar edged lower against a basket of major currencies but was headed for its first weekly gain in five, as optimism grew that Washington may soon clinch a stop-gap budget deal. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.07 percent to 80.471. The euro rose 0.27 percent to $1.3534, while the dollar rose 0.4 percent to 98.52 yen. Brent crude oil fell at one point below $111 a barrel, pressured by an improved supply picture, which offset optimism for an end to the U.S. government shutdown. The supply outlook improved as the International Energy Agency said non-OPEC supply would rise by an average of 1.7 million barrels per day in 2014, the highest annual growth since the 1970s. The IEA, the West's energy watchdog, said in its monthly report that the United States would become the world's largest oil producer next year, compensating for anticipated disruption in OPEC production. "The IEA data is bearish for prices, since investors face less risk from supply disruptions in North Africa and the Middle East," said Simon Wardell, analyst at IHS Global Insight. Brent oil fell 76 cents to $111.04 per barrel. U.S. crude was down $1.55 at $101.47 per barrel.
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