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Treasurys little changed after burst of 2-year supply

Reuters with

Bonds: U.S. Treasurys Chart

U.S. Treasurys traded near flat on Monday as investors prepared to make room for the rest of the week's $96 billion in longer-dated government debt supply.

The Treasury kicked off the week's supply with the sale of $32 billion in notes at a high yield of 0.323 percent, with the highest bid-to-cover ratio in six months.

"The auction was very well bid,'' said Thomas Simons, a money market economist at Jefferies & Co in New York.

Monday's auction was the smallest monthly supply of this maturity since August 2008.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes remained unchanged in price to a yield of 2.516 percent. The 10-year yield touched a three-month low of 2.471 percent last week after disappointing September jobs figures.

The government began reducing the size of its two-year auctions in August as a result of lower borrowing needs and ahead of introducing two-year floating-rate debt in early 2014.

The two-year auction will be followed by a $35 billion sale of five-year notes on Tuesday and a $29 billion auction of seven-year notes on Wednesday.

Traders and analysts anticipated solid demand for this week's sales on views the Federal Reserve will keep buying bonds at its current pace to prop up the economy, which was weakened by this month's 16-day partial government shutdown.

"The prevalent opinion of the market is the Fed is on hold with tapering until 2014,'' said Mike Cullinane, head of Treasurys trading at D.A. Davidson at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fed policy-makers will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday after they surprised investors last month when they refrained from reducing their $85 billion monthly purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, or QE3. The decision spurred a rally in the bond market, helping to send the 10-year yield down some 50 basis points from a 25-month high of 3 percent.

With the Fed likely to assure investors that the current QE3 purchases will stay in place in the coming months, traders and analysts said benchmark yields will likely bounce within a tight range at least until the next non-farm payrolls report, which will be due on Nov. 8.

"This lends itself to a rangebound market,'' said Cullinane, who expects the 10-year yield to trade 2.45 to 2.65 percent in the near term.

The government has released economic data that were delayed due to the shutdown after President Barack Obama and Congress reached a last-minute deal on Oct. 16 to temporarily fund federal spending and raise the debt ceiling through early 2014.

U.S. factory output grew 0.6 percent in September, its largest monthly increase since February, the Fed reported on Monday.

—By Reuters.