TOKYO, April 18 U.S. Treasuries firmed in Asia
on Thursday, bringing the benchmark yield near a four-month low,
as profit concerns hit Wall Street shares in a market already
rattled by sinking commodity prices.
* The yield on the benchmark 10-year notes dipped about 1
basis point to 1.686 percent, just a stone throw
from Wednesday's intraday low of 1.673 percent, which was its
lowest in over four months.
* A catalyst for buying in bonds was a broad selloff in U.S.
shares. Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq
Composite Index fell more than 1 percent, with Apple Inc
falling 5.5 percent after one of its key suppliers gave
a disappointing revenue forecast.
* Treasuries were also helped by comments from European
Central Bank Governing Council member Jens Weidmann that
Europe's economic recovery could take as much as another decade
and that the ECB may cut rates if the economy weakens.
* "We have had a series of disappointing U.S. data, starting
from the ISM manufacturing index to employment and retail sales.
If the economic data continues to disappoint, the 10-year yield
could head to 1.6 percent," said Shinichiro Kadota, strategist
* As these weak numbers fanned expectations the Federal
Reserve will keep the pace of its bond buying unchanged at $85
billion for now, investors are looking to the Philadelphia Fed's
factory activity index due at 1400 GMT.