Treasury End Mostly Higher

Prices started higher on geopolitical tensions and sour consumer sentiment, but a late recovery in stocks pared gains

Treasuries ended Tuesday's session mostly higher, with longer-dated issues showing the most strength. Prices launched higher in opening trade on news of a short-range missile launch by North Korea into the Japan Sea, likely timed to tweak South Korean President Roh during his inauguration. A 15-point drop in the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for February to 64 helped prices to session highs, but home sales set a new record and the bid soon evaporated.

Stocks steadily recovered over the session, partly supported by the vague notion from Inspector Blix that Saddam could be more cooperative with documents and weapons. Bush rejected Iraq's overtures as gaming the system.

There was also some concern that Treasury Under Secretary Fisher could spring another surprise in his "Bond Outlook" speech, which made some bulls nervous, though Fisher's remarks were tame. There was also a rumor that Russian envoy Primakov had convinced Saddam to leave or comply.

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