Prices Fall, Interest Rates Rise
NEW YORK (AP) _ The powerful bond market rally faltered Wednesday as prices pulled back and interest rates edged up.
Part of the price deterioration was due to investors selling bonds to acquire profits amassed during the market’s recent advances, analysts said.
Signs that the slide in world petroleum prices may have ended hurt the credit markets, analysts said.
Plunging oil prices this year have brightened the inflation picture, a development that has contributed to the bond market’s recent euphoria.
The price of the main grade of U.S. oil rose for the third straight day in futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 91 cents and closed at $14.01 a barrel in contracts for April delivery.
Some traders were discouraged by the level of an interest rate on overnight loans between banks, which might mean the Federal Reserve Board is maintaining its grip on credit availability, analysts said.
The federal funds rate rose to 7 3/4 from 79-16 late Tuesday. This is the interest paid on funds banks lend each other overnight to satisfy federal reserve requirements.
Following the Fed’s half point cut in its discount rate to 7 percent last week, it was hoped the central bank would demonstrate its desire to make more credit available in the banking system so that banks could lend more freely to businesses and consumers, spurring economic growth.
The yield on the Treasury’s 30-year bond rose to 7.94 percent from 7.9 percent late Tuesday. The price of the bond slid about $5 for each $1,000 in face amount. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
In the secondary market for Treasury securities, prices of short-term governments fell from 5-32 point to 3-16 point and intermediate maturities were off 1/4 point to 5-16 point. The 20-year bond lost 3/4 point and the 30-year issue dropped back 1/2 point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Brothers Inc.
The movement of a point is equivalent to a change of $10 in the price of a bond with a $1,000 face value.
The Merrill Lynch Daily Treasury Index, which measures price movements on all outstanding Treasury issues with maturities of a year or longer, wound up the trading session at 117.07, virtually unchanged from Tuesday’s close of 117.05. The Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc. composite government securities index, which makes a similar measurement, fell 4.10 to 1,223.70.
In the market for corporate securities, industrials and utilities fell 1/2 point in quiet activity.
Among tax-exempt municipal bonds, dollar bonds slid 5/8 point in average trading volume and general obligations fell 1/2 point in light activity.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills rose four basis points to 6.62 percent. Six-month bills were also up four basis points to 6.60 percent, and one-year bills edged up two basis points, to 6.61 percent. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.