Treasuries Finish Higher

Prices climbed amid the ongoing threat of war with Iraq

Risk aversion made a small come-back Friday after a week in which the war premium was partly cashed out in anticipation of a quick victory in the Gulf as resolution to the U.N. stand-off. The curve steepened back out somewhat as the front-end recouped recent corrective losses.

Stocks made a valiant attempt to extend their 2-day winning streak, but ran out of gas by the end of the session. Treasuries benefitted from that lack of follow-through on Thursday's violent asset allocation shift by leveraged accounts, after initial weakness.

News of an allied meeting in the Azores to discuss the end of diplomatic efforts also helped shore up the front-end. Though a slight-of-hand switch to presenting a "Road Map to Peace" in the Middle East by Bush caught the market a little flat footed, amid expectations of a more hawkish announcement.

Though blotted out by geopolitics, for the record, the data included a large 1.0% gain in PPI (-0.5% core), a small 0.2% business inventories gain, a sizable $137 billion C/A deficit, +0.1% industrial production, 75.6% capacity use, and a big drop in U. Michigan consumer sentiment to 75.6% from 80%. The Jun bond closed up 12/32 at 114-07, while the 2-year note and 30-year bond spread widened 5 basis points to +317 basis points.

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