Bond Prices Rise In Light Trading Volume
NEW YORK (AP) _ Treasury bond prices posted modest gains Monday as investors brushed aside secondary economic news and braced for a flood of more important releases later this week.
The price of the Treasury’s main 30-year bond rose 25-32 point, or $7.81 per $1,000 in face value. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, fell to 6.84 percent from 6.90 percent late Friday.
The bond-price increase was attributed to Wall Street trading strategies rather than to more fundamental factors. Activity was light in the absence of major data or other news.
The Commerce Department reported that the income of Americans climbed a modest 0.4 percent in June to recover from the first decline in more than a year. But the data was considered old news and most investors were focusing on expectations for July’s economic performance.
Another report, from the Chicago Purchasing Management Association, showed an increase in Midwest business activity that was in line with expectations.
The group’s July index of area activity rose to 49.7 percent from 47.6 percent in June. A reading above 50 percent indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector, while a reading below 50 percent indicates contraction.
Traders and analysts tend to watch the Chicago survey for clues about the National Association of Purchasing Management’s index, which is scheduled for release on Tuesday.
The biggest report of the week comes on Friday, when the Labor Department releases its July figures on national employment. Strategists are wondering whether the week’s data will give the Fed more reason to cut interest rates at its policy-making meeting on Aug. 22.
The Fed, which uses lower rates as a tool to stimulate the economy, lowered rates early this month for the first time in nearly three years. The action boosted bond prices, since lower rates on new securities lift the values of those already in circulation.
Adding to market uncertainty, the Treasury Department is set on Wednesday to release details on an estimated $41 billion in new three, 10- and 30-year bonds to be auctioned the following week. The upcoming sale, after auctions last week of nearly $30 billion in notes, is prompting concerns about whether fresh supply may outstrip investor demand.
Prices of short-term Treasury securities ranged from 1/8 point to 3-16 point higher and intermediate maturities were up 1/4 point to 11-32 point, reported Dow Jones Telerate Inc., a financial information service.
The Lehman Brothers Daily Treasury Bond Index, reflecting price movements on bonds with maturities of a year or longer, rose 3.25 to 1,247.85.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills slipped to 5.56 percent as the discount dropped .01 percentage point to 5.41 percent. Six-month yields dropped to 5.58 as the discount slipped .01 point to 5.36 percent. One-year yields fell to 5.65 percent as the discount dropped .02 point to 5.34 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, was 5 15/16 percent, up from 5 3/4 Friday.
In the tax-exempt market, the Bond Buyer index of 40 actively traded municipal bonds closed at 113 25-32, unchanged from late Friday. The average yield to maturity was 6.19 percent, up from 6.18 percent.