TREASURIES-Yields slip on diminishing U.S. inflation anxieties

Mon Aug 4, 2014 10:21am EDT

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By Michael Connor

NEW YORK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices edged up on Monday amid receding investor worries over an earlier-than-expected interest-rate hike by Federal Reserve policymakers.

Treasuries rallied on Friday, when U.S. employment data for July showed flat wage gains for hourly workers and a rise in the national unemployment rate to 6.2 percent.

The data calmed fears about inflation, which could spur higher interest rates and lower bond prices.

On Monday, prices rose for both intermediate and long maturities, with 3-year to 7-year maturities at center stage, according to Jake Lowery, portfolio manager at Voya Investment Management in Atlanta.

"Intermediate maturity Treasuries continue to rally as a follow-up to Friday, when they did the same. The market seems comfortable with the Fed statement last week and the uptick in unemployment," Lowery said. "We are likely to stay in a low volatility environment for some time."

A Reuters poll on Friday showed that a majority of Wall Street's top bond firms see no move by the Fed to increase interest rates from historic lows before the second half of next year.

"The market is focused on how long the Fed can be expected to maintain its dovish tone. That's why today's rally has been focused on the shorter maturities," Lowery said.

Benchmark 10-year notes were last up 7/32 in price to yield 2.48 percent, down from 2.495 percent at Friday's close. The 30-year was up 10/32 to yield 3.28 percent.

Among intermediate maturities, the 7-year was ahead 6/32 and yielding 2.13 percent, down from 2.15 percent at the close on Friday.

Investor buying patterns are shifting, with some demand leaving the market's long end, Lowery said. The buying had narrowed the differences among Treasuries maturities.

"Over the last couple of months, the curve has flattened relentlessly, with the 30 generally outperforming the rest of the curve," he said. "That's based on some strong demand that the market has been seeing from foreign central banks, as well as some large money managers. Buying from those sources seems to have slowed down in the past week or so."

(Reporting By Michael Connor in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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