The $16 billion 5-year auction disappointed, but foreign-exchange linked buying supported Treasury prices into the close. Stocks tumbled amid economic uncertainties spawned by last Friday's jobs report. The weaker than expected report has been driving increased confidence in Treasuries this week, as the data is likely to keep the Fed from raising interest through 2005.
The 5-year note auction produced a stop at 2.698%, vs. the 1.00 p.m. EST bid of 2.68%. The bid to cover was above average at 2.47, but fell below the 5-year auction bid to cover ratio in February of 2.84, and below January's 2.51.
Additional buying is also likely from mortgage portfolio managers hedging against home mortgage refinancing. The benchmark 10-year note rose 3/32 to yield 3.71%. The 30-year bond rose 6/32 to yield 4.66%.
Earlier, the government's report on U.S. trade figures hurt stocks and the dollar. The deficit rose to a record $43.1 billion in January, from a revised $42.7 billion in December, which was originally reported as $42.5 billion. Economists had expected a January deficit of $42.0 billion. Imports fell by 0.5%, while exports were down 1.2%. The data will cut into the first-quarter GDP estimate and lead to slight downward revisions to fourth-quarter GDP estimates.