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Bond Prices End Little Changed

July 2, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bond prices finished little changed Friday as traders shrugged off the government’s report that the unemployment rate edged up in June despite unexpectedly strong job growth.

The price of the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond finished unchanged from Thursday’s close with its yield holding at 6.00 percent.

Trading was light, however, and dealings wound down about 3 1/2 hours earlier than normal as many market participants got a head start on the three-day Independence Day holiday.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate edged up to 4.3 percent in June from a 29-year low of 4.2 percent in May.

The rate rise occurred even though 268,000 jobs were created in June, beating the consensus expectation for 200,000 new jobs.

Elliott Platt, a top economist for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, said bond traders also ``were not terribly shaken″ by a 3.7 percent rise in average hourly earnings, an acceleration from the 3.5 percent rise in May.

``People seemed pretty well prepared for that,″ he said.

Platt noted that the market’s muted reaction was due in part to the Federal Reserve’s suggestion Wednesday as it boosted the rate on overnight loans between banks by a quarter percentage point that a single rate hike may be all that is needed to curb inflation.

Prices of short-term Treasury securities also ended unchanged while intermediate-term issues were up 1/32 point, reported Bridge Telerate, a financial information service.

Yields on three-month Treasury bills were 4.66 percent as the discount rose 0.02 percentage point to 4.54 percent. Six-month yields were 4.97 percent, as the discount lost 0.02 percentage point to 4.78 percent. One-year yields were steady at 5.05 percent as the discount held at 4.80 percent.

Yields are the interest bonds pay by maturity, while the discount is the interest at which they are sold.

The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, fell to 4.87 1/2 percent from 6.00 percent late Thursday.

In the tax-exempt market, the Bond Buyer index of 40 actively traded municipal bonds rose 1/8 point to 118 27/32. The average yield to maturity held at 5.54 percent, the same as late Thursday.

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