December 4, 2013 / 8:06 PM / in 4 years

TREASURIES-U.S. bond prices fall on upbeat economic data

* Upbeat ADP jobs data support view on earlier Fed tapering
    * New home sales post biggest percentage rise in 33 years
    * U.S. 10-year yield rises to highest since mid-Sept
    * ISM services gauge falls more than expected in Nov
    * Beige Book shows growth at "modest and moderate" pace

    By Richard Leong
    NEW YORK, Dec 4 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices slumped
on Wednesday as robust data on private-sector jobs and new home
sales supported expectations that the Federal Reserve would be
encouraged to pare its stimulative bond purchases sooner than
    The price decline pushed benchmark yields to their highest
level since mid-September. Short- and medium-dated yields
climbed to their highest levels in about three weeks.
    The market stabilized after the Institute for Supply
Management's gauge of U.S. services industries fell more than
expected in November, suggesting slower growth in that sector
and reviving some bids for government bonds.  
    "The market is pricing in a slightly higher probability of a
tapering in December or January," said Mike Cullinane, head of
Treasuries trading at D.A. Davidson in St. Petersburg, Florida.
    Most analysts expect the Fed to begin reducing its bond
purchases at its March meeting, but some think it could happen
as early as December or January, if employment data comes in
    "Tapering is not if but when, but the Fed wants to see more
data before they taper," said Bret Barker, portfolio manager at
TCW Group in Los Angeles. He anticipates a purchase reduction
will likely occur in March.
    Payroll processor ADP said on Wednesday U.S. companies added
215,000 jobs in November, the biggest monthly rise in a year.
This compared with an upwardly revised 184,000 increase in
October and beat the 173,000 gain forecast by analysts polled by
    Some analysts use the ADP data to adjust their forecasts on
the government's payroll reading. The U.S. Labor Department will
release its November payroll report at 8:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT)
on Friday.
    Economists polled by Reuters forecast U.S. employers likely
added 180,000 workers in November, following a 204,000 increase
in October.
    U.S. employers stepped up hiring in some parts of the
country in October and early November as the economy expanded at
a "modest to moderate pace," the Federal Reserve said on
    The Fed's Beige Book report, a collection of anecdotes from
the central bank's business contacts across the nation, could
bolster the view that the robust growth in payrolls in October
carried over into November. 
    Other data supporting a Fed withdrawal of stimulus by early
2014 included a contraction in the U.S. trade gap in October,
stemming from record exports, and a 25.4 percent jump in new
home sales in October, the largest monthly gain since May 1980.
    On the open market, benchmark 10-year notes last
traded 15/32 lower in price to yield 2.842 percent, up from
2.775 percent late on Tuesday. The 10-year yield touched 2.852
percent, the highest since mid-September.
    Thirty-year bonds shed more than 1 point in
price to yield 3.904 percent, up from 3.836 percent on Tuesday.
    The yield curve, as measured by the yield difference between
two-year and 10-year Treasuries, grew to 2.55 percent. This
proxy of investors' view on U.S. growth hit its widest level
since July 2011, according to Reuters data. 
    "Anything positive with the data right now is likely to
cause more selling in bonds and the yield curve to steepen,"
said Mary Beth Fisher, head of U.S. interest rates strategy at
SG Corporate & Investment Bank in New York. 
    Another month of solid job gains would support ideas that
the Fed will soon trim its third round of quantitative easing,
known as QE3, which began a year ago and involved $85 billion of
monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.
    Prices on agency mortgage-backed securities fell, too, on
worries about the Fed tapering its bond purchases. The 30-year
3.5-percent coupon MBS backed by Fannie Mae fell
12/32 in price to yield 3.512 percent, up 5 basis points from
    On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank bought $3.18 billion in
notes due 2022 to 2023, part of its QE3 plan to buy $45 billion
of Treasuries in December.

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