Bonds Stuck in Trading Range

But deep ratings cuts of Southern Cal Edison and PG&E to junk status on the eve of a legislative bailout put fear back into the markets

Activity in Treasuries did not really pick back up the Tuesday following the long holiday weekend stateside. A flurry of options deals struck dominated the thin outright flows, with numerous shops mostly writing calls on a gamut of futures contracts, mostly in order to pocket premium on expectations of volume drifting lower.

Equity indices split the difference with IBM (IBM )and Intel Corp. (INTC )earnings results awaited, leaving the Dow up 1.2% and NASDAQ under water. A potentially large $9 billion BT issue (mostly euros) among other corporate deals kept dealers guessing and the long end under pressure most of the session relative to early front end price gains.

But swift and deep ratings cuts by Moody's of Southern Cal Edison and S&P of PG&E to junk status on the eve of a legislative bailout put fear back into the markets and a bid back into the Mar bond after Edison defaulted on a good chunk of its debt and energy payables. In line with volumes, ranges were very subdued -- the Mar bond settling +9/32 near the top end of a 102-25 to 103-11 range. Tempered dealings are expected into Wed's CPI/IP data offerings.

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