NEW YORK Most investors held on to a neutral position on the outlook for Treasuries in the latest week as they looked to Washington for clues as to whether Democrats and Republicans can get together to head off a looming fiscal crisis, a survey released on Tuesday showed.
The share of investors surveyed on Monday who said they were "neutral" on U.S. government debt, or holding Treasuries equal to their portfolio benchmarks, rose to 70 percent from 68 percent the prior week, J.P. Morgan Securities said in its weekly Treasury client survey.
The survey showed the most neutrals since November 5, J.P. Morgan said.
Investors mostly stayed on the sidelines as they wait to see if President Barack Obama and a divided Congress can avert $600 billion of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, known as the "fiscal cliff," that will phase in next year.
The share of investors who were "short" on Monday, or holding less Treasuries than their benchmarks, fell to 13 percent from 15 percent the prior week.
The share of investors who said they were "long" Treasuries, or holding more government debt than their portfolio benchmarks, was unchanged from the prior week at 17 percent.
In the latest J.P. Morgan survey, active clients, including market makers and hedge funds, who are viewed as taking on speculative bets in Treasuries, held steady in their positions from the previous week.
The share of longs among active traders was unchanged at 8 percent, while the share of neutrals was steady at 69 percent and the share of shorts was unchanged at 23 percent.
(Reporting by Chris Reese; Editing by Andrea Ricci)