Stocks Fail to Capitalize

Weakness in the stock market doesn't help Treasuries

Treasuries closed little changed to slightly lower after a very listless Thursday session. The long bond underperformed, closing down 10/32 on continuation of the steepening trade, though there was nothing too compelling in the trade.

Stocks remained the focal point for bonds, but Treasuries couldn't garner much impetus. The advent of quarter-end and Friday's data on Michigan consumer sentiment and Chicago PMI left most of Wall Street on the sidelines. Indeed, rather than give bonds direction, choppy action in stocks seemed to contribute more to the bond market's malaise and hesitation.

Nevertheless, given the path of least resistance in stocks is to the downside, curve steepeners remained the play in Treasuries. In this light, the bill sector had the best day thanks to last minute window (un)dressing as players liquidated stocks and parked the cash in the front end. There was also some talk of central bank buying in shorter dated issues, while a firmer U.S. dollar on the lack of an ECB rate cut was supportive for bonds. Neither the data, nor the $1 billion Treasury buy-back impacted.

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