April 27, 2012 / 3:25 AM / 6 years ago

TREASURIES-US bonds rise after S&P downgrades Spain

TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - Treasuries prices rose in Asia on Friday, after Standard & Poor’s cut of Spain’s credit ratings added to fears about the ability of some European countries to continue financing their debt.

* S&P’s cut Spain’s ratings by two notches to BBB-plus due to its deteriorating public finances.

* Later on Friday, the U.S. government will release preliminary data on Q1 gross domestic product, which is forecast to show growth at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent, slower than the 3.0 percent in the final last quarter of 2011.

* U.S. data will be in focus after the Fed held policy steady on Wednesday and reiterated its expectation that interest rates would not rise until late 2014. Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank was prepared to do more to aid the U.S. economy if necessary, though his comments did not signal that a third round of quantitative easing was on the way anytime soon.

* “There are still some expectations of more quantitative easing priced into the market, and yields might not go higher unless that changes,” said Hiroki Shimazu, an economist in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities

* The yield on the 10-year notes stood at 1.91 percent, down from 1.95 percent in late U.S. trade and from 1.98 percent in Asian trade on Thursday.

* The 30-year bond yield stood at 3.09 percent, down from 3.12 percent in late U.S. trading and from 3.15 percent in Asia on Thursday.

* Underpinning demand for fixed-income assets, U.S. data on Thursday showed initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by far less than expected in the latest week.

But other data painted a brighter picture, with U.S. contracts to purchase previously owned homes close to a two-year high in March.

* The key U.S. nonfarm payrolls report data for May will be released on Friday, May 4, which is a holiday in Japan. Japan’s markets will be closed Monday, Thursday and Friday for Golden Week.

* On the supply side, the U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday completed this week’s $99 billion in coupon-bearing sales, with a smooth auction of $29 billion in new seven-year notes. The lowest yield was a record low, at 1.347 percent.

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