* Greece, Ukraine elections spur safe-haven bids
* Strong U.S. April new home sales impact muted
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, May 23 U.S. Treasuries prices rose on
Friday on uncertainty ahead of elections in Greece and Ukraine
elections, which overshadowed stronger-than-expected U.S.
housing data and spurred safe-haven bids.
Traders sought safe-haven bonds on the belief that the
elections could result in market volatility, including renewed
worries of a Greek exit from the euro zone and the potential
for greater geopolitical concerns surrounding Ukraine.
"European parliamentary elections and Ukraine elections are
key events in the near term which could be driving people into
the safety of U.S. Treasuries," said Robbert van Batenburg,
director of market strategy at Newedge USA, LLC, in New York.
Batenburg said that if Greece's leftist Syriza party wins,
its leaders could reject the government's austerity policies and
threaten to leave the euro zone. If pro-separatist voters in
eastern Ukraine fail to participate, he said, it could stoke
geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The European Union's parliamentary election kicked off on
Thursday. Greece's leftist Syriza party performed strongly in
key races in the first round of local elections on May 18. [ID:
Data showing that sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose
more than expected in April failed to derail safe-haven demand
The Commerce Department said new U.S. single-family home
sales increased 6.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate
of 433,000 units, ending two straight months of declines.
March's sales pace was revised up to 407,000 units from a
previously reported 384,000 units.
"All the market is concerned about at this point is that
there is nothing on the near term horizon that is going to
change the sideways to mild downward pattern in housing," said
Jim Vogel, an interest rate strategist at FTN Financial in
Prices on 30-year Treasury bonds were last up
18/32 to yield 3.398 percent, from a yield of 3.429 percent late
Thursday. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were
last up 7/32 to yield 2.53 percent, from a yield of 2.555
percent late Thursday.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 last traded up 0.31
(Reporting by Sam Forgione)