Bond Prices Slightly Higher
Dec. 02, 1992
NEW YORK (AP) _ Treasury bond prices finished unchanged to slightly higher Wednesday as the market largely ignored a surprising drop in new home sales because of questions about the monthly report's reliability.
The price of the Treasury's main 30-year bond was unchanged at the close of trading, and its yield was also unchanged from late Tuesday at 7.56 percent.
The government reported that sales of new homes fell 10.3 percent in October, the first drop in six months. Many analysts had expected the number to rise slightly more than 1 percent.
The report also sharply revised September new home sales, to a 7 percent gain from a month earlier. The government had initially estimated that September new home sales fell 1 percent.
The initial estimates have been adjusted upward, often substantially, every month since September 1991.
Jim Donnelly, an analyst at Technical Data in Boston, said ''the market paid little heed'' to the new home sales report ''especially after the extreme upward revision'' of September's numbers.
''The home sales numbers leave people shrugging their shoulders, so traders are keeping their positions,'' said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Nikko Securities International.
A decline in home sales would normally boost bond prices since it would be a sign that the economy, and possibly inflation, are slowing. Inflation erodes the value of bonds.
Investors were also hesitant to make major moves ahead of Friday's report on November unemployment. The nation's jobless rate is expected to hold steady at 7.4 percent, Brusca said.
In the secondary market for Treasury securities, short-term maturities rose 3-32 point to 5-32 point and intermediate maturities rose 5-32 point to 1-16 point, the Telerate Inc. financial information service reported.
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 Lehman Brothers Daily Treasury Bond Index, which measures price movements on all outstanding Treasury issues with maturities of a year or longer, rose 1.37 points to 1,243.16.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills fell to 3.37 percent as the discount fell 3 basis points to 3.31 percent. Yields on six-month bills fell to 3.55 percent as the discount fell 5 basis points to 3.45 percent. Yields on one- year bills fell to 3.79 percent as the discount fell 5 basis points to 3.65 percent.
A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. The yield is the annualized return on an investment in a Treasury bill. The discount is the percentage that bills are selling below the face value, which is paid at maturity.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, fell to 2 7/8 percent, down from 3 1/8 percent late Tuesday.
In the tax-exempt market, the Bond Buyer index of 40 actively traded municipal bonds closed at 96 31-32, up 3-32 from Tuesday. The average yield to maturity was 6.41 percent, down from 6.42 Tuesday.