January 30, 2014 / 4:35 PM / 3 years ago

TREASURIES-Bond prices fall ahead of 5, 7-year debt auction

3 Min Read

* Treasuries retreat after Wednesday's rally

* U.S. Treasury to sell five-year, seven-year debt

* U.S. GDP prevents extension of rally

* Emerging market concerns limit losses

By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices fell on Thursday ahead of the U.S. Treasury Department's auction of five-year notes and seven-year debt and after the release of upbeat data on U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The fall came following a bond market rally on Wednesday that was encouraged by a selloff of Wall Street stocks after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would further reduce its stimulative bond-purchase program.

The U.S. Treasury Department will sell $35 billion in five-year notes and $29 billion in seven-year debt on Thursday. Analysts said the incoming supply would likely exert downward pressure on Treasuries prices.

"We've had a pretty good run," said Steve Van Order, fixed income strategist at Calvert Investments in Bethesda, Maryland. "There's no compelling reason to buy at these levels in front of the auctions."

Upbeat data on U.S. economic growth also kept Treasuries from extending Wednesday's rally.

Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday, in line with economists' expectations but a far stronger performance than anticipated earlier in the quarter.

"The Treasury market has been buoyed by a flight-to-quality bid," said Ellis Phifer, market strategist at Raymond James in Memphis, Tennessee. "Certainly the stronger GDP data has contained any kind of continuation of yesterday's rally."

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last down 8/32 in price to yield 2.71 percent, compared with a yield of 2.68 percent late on Wednesday. Bond yields move inversely to their prices.

While a sharp selloff in emerging market assets appeared to subside on Thursday after policymakers pledged to take any necessary measures to stabilize their markets, lingering concerns limited losses for safe-haven Treasuries.

"If the emerging market issue wasn't around, we would probably be rotating around 3 percent on the 10-year Treasury," Van Order of Calvert said.

Treasuries rallied on Wednesday after the Fed's expected decision to trim its asset purchases by $10 billion to $65 billion a month, leaving investors to return focus to the weakness in emerging market economies.

On Wall Street, all three major stock indexes posted gains on Thursday, with the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 stock index up 0.82 percent.

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