Bonds Lifted by Weak Manufacturing Data

The curve steepened after lower Chicago-PMI data jolted the stock market

Treasuries started on a down note to round out the week on Friday, but an overnight rebound in equities stalled and data captured center stage for a change. The catalyst was the plunge in March Chicago PMI to lows not witnessed since 1982 at 35% from 43.2% in Feb, sparking downward revisions for NAPM Monday. This quickly dampened equity spirits and jet-fuelled curve steepening, giving the June bond a ride briefly to session highs of 104-20.

At the front-end of the curve, Fed funds, Euro$, bills and 2-year notes all romped ahead, though the back-end played some catch-up as the session drew to a close. Some hedge fund and investment bank buying of June 10s helped stabilize the curve, with the 2s/30s spread pulling back in from 2-year wides of +130 basis points to +128 basis points.

Quarter-end portfolio rejigging sent the bond from its highs into the close, while stocks carved back some losses and the dollar index stretched for year-end highs near 118.

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