TREASURIES-Bonds edge higher on weak consumer sentiment, Ukraine

Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:23am EDT

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* Consumer sentiment fell to lowest since November

* Safe-haven bids boost bonds ahead of Crimea vote

By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices edged higher on Friday after data showed consumer sentiment dipped modestly in early March while geopolitical tensions surrounding Ukraine supported safe-haven bids.

The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan overall index of consumer sentiment fell to 79.9 in March, down from the 81.6 final reading in February and marking the lowest level for the index since November.

Heightened tensions between the West and Russia ahead of Ukraine's weekend referendum in Crimea also drove a flight to quality into safe-haven bonds.

The West has ramped up talks of sanctions while Russia has responded with promises of retaliatory measures.

"We're in a bit of a holding pattern ahead of the event risk this weekend," said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist at CRT Capital in Stamford, Connecticut.

Treasuries prices gained slightly despite Federal Reserve data on Thursday showing foreign central banks' overall holdings of U.S. marketable securities at the Fed plunged by more than $106 billion in the week ended March 12.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury note was last up 5/32 to yield 2.63 percent, up in price from late Thursday, when the yield was at 2.653 percent. Bond yields move inversely to their prices.

The 30-year Treasury bond was last up 16/32 in price to yield 3.572 percent, up in price from late Thursday, when the yield was at 3.60 percent.

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