Treasuries Close Modestly Higher But Well Off Best Levels

After trending lower over the past few sessions, treasuries regained some ground during trading on Monday. Bond prices pulled back after seeing initial strength but managed to close modestly higher. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, edged down by 1 basis point to 1.276 percent. The early advance by treasuries may have reflected concerns about the outlook for the global economy as the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread. Worries about tensions between the U.S. and China may also have increased the appeal of bonds, with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng saying that the relationship between the world’s two largest economies “is now in a stalemate and faces serious difficulties.” Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. The Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but traders will be paying close attention to any comments regarding the central bank’s asset purchase program. In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department released a report this morning unexpectedly showing another steep drop in new home sales in the month of June. The report said new home sales tumbled by 6.6 percent to an annual rate of 676,000 in June after plunging by 7.8 percent to a revised rate of 724,000 in May. The continued nosedive surprised economists, who had expected new home sales to jump by 4.0 percent to an annual rate of 800,000 from the 769,000 originally reported for the previous month. With the unexpected decrease, new home sales slumped to their lowest annual rate since hitting 582,000 in April of last year. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department revealed this month’s auction of $60 billion worth of two-year notes attracted modestly below average demand. The two-year note auction drew a high yield of 0.213 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.47, while the ten previous two-year note auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.53. The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold. Looking ahead, the Treasury is due to announce the results of this month’s auction of $61 billion worth of five-year notes on Tuesday Trading on Tuesday may also be impacted by reaction to reports on durable goods orders and consumer confidence, although activity is likely to remain light ahead of the Fed announcement. .

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