TREASURIES-Bonds dip as auction disappoints; vote eyed
NEW YORK, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Prices of U.S. Treasuries slid on Tuesday, with weary investors opting for riskier assets such as stocks rather than government debt as the hard-fought U.S. presidential election drew to a close. A lackluster auction of $32 billion in three-year notes underscored investors' fatigue with safe-haven U.S. debt. ``It looks like everybody's putting their money in stocks today, a little bit of a 'thank God it's over' trade,'' said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics in San Francisco. ``I expected at least an average if not an above-average bid cover,'' Rupert added, calling the 3.41 bid-to-cover ratio the auction drew ``disappointing.'' With key U.S. stock indexes rising as much as 1 percent on Tuesday, ``people don't want to miss the train. They're thinking 'no matter who wins, it's over and something's going to get accomplished now,''' she said. Benchmark U.S. 10-year notes dropped 11/32 in price, raising their yield to 1.717 percent from 1.70 percent late on Mo nday. Yields are toward the lower end of their year-long range between 2.38 percent and a record low of 1.38 percent. Thirty-year Treasury bonds fell 21/32, leaving their yield at 2.902 percent, from 2.869 percent on Monday. Voting for the next U.S. president was underway on Tuesday, even as states in the Northeast, hard-hit by massive storm Sandy last week, had long lines and delays at polling stations.
The election means a sale of 10-year notes on Wednesday will be the first such debt auction after the polls close. But the U.S. Treasury market will ``respond in a knee-jerk fashion,'' no matter what result the election produces, said Kevin Flanagan, chief fixed income strategist at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, with $1.8 trillion in assets under management. ``The question is, in what direction? At first blush, a Romney win would be viewed less favorably by Treasuries,'' he said. Paul Montaquila, vice president and fixed income investment officer at Bank of the West's Capital Markets division, with about $10 billion in fixed-income assets under management, cited some ``slight profit-taking on yesterday's rally.'' He said the market on Wednesday was likely to have a short-lived reaction to Tuesday's presidential election. ``You're seeing some investors, particularly in stocks, set up and make a bet,'' he said. Treasuries remained stuck in their recent ranges - and they could stay that way for a long time. ``Look at the curve. Two-year notes are yielding a quarter of a percent and three-year notes are yielding 3/8,'' Montaquila said. ``Get used to that because that will be the case until mid-2015.'' The Federal Reserve's policy-making Federal Open Market Committee has committed to keeping short-term interest rates exceptionally low until mid-2015. ``Treasury yields are smack-dab in the middle of their trading range,'' Montaquila said. As part of the Federal Reserve's accommodative monetary policy aimed at supporting the economy and cutting unemployment, the New York Fed said it was buying Treasuries on Tuesday with maturities ranging from November 2018 to August 2020.
In the background, jitters over Greece's economic future were likely to continue to underpin demand for U.S. debt. Tens of thousands of Greek workers began a 48-hour strike on T uesday to protest a new round of cuts that unions say will devastate the poor and cause a failing economy to collapse. Lawmakers vote on Wed nesday on a plan to unlock more international aid.