Bonds Close Flat to Lower

The sell-off in equities kept losses to a minimum

Supply continued to wash through on Tuesday, while more victims of the broadening anthrax attack continued to sow equities with worry, keeping the Treasury sell-off to a minimum. Weekly retail sales perked back up a bit for the week ending Oct. 20, but jittery prices ebbed and flowed in the mirror image of equity reaction to the latest scares.

The curve initially flattened ahead of tomorrow's 2-year auction, but soon steepened on the news of two postal worker deaths in Washington D.C. were confirmed as Anthrax-related, a New Jersey worker was infected, as was a remote White House postal machine.

The 2s/30s spread jostled between +259-264bp, while the December bond made a fitful recovery to -6/32 and 106-7/32 from knee-jerk lows of 105-24 set in reaction to the late Monday rally on Wall Street. The Fed's Greenspan embraced systemic flexibility, but remained mum on policy.

Housing agency Fannie Mae priced $6 bln in mostly 5-year notes, while Ford's $9.4 billion jumbo deal traded lower in secondary markets and the belly accordingly suffered indigestion. Sizable roll/spread selling of December 110 calls for March 112 calls on 10s was noted.

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