Falling Nasdaq Stock Market prices gave the Treasury market a substantial boost today, cropping yields of all maturities to their lowest levels of the year.
Investors bought Treasuries in part because of the Nasdaq's extreme volatility lately, analysts said. The fact that last week, a 200-point decline in the
Nasdaq Composite Index
turned into a 500-point decline in a matter of minutes, causing a spike in Treasury prices, makes Treasuries that much more appealing,
Paribas Capital Markets
senior bond strategist Richard Gilhooly said.
The Treasury market has become "extremely sensitive to weakness in the Nasdaq because it's a hairsbreadth away from collapsing, particularly if the Fed hikes interest rates aggressively," Gilhooly said.
Also supporting the Treasury market today was the latest drop in oil prices, which took the price of the front-month crude contract to its lowest level of the year. And the dollar made a big move against the yen. There were no economic releases, and while
Alan Greenspan gave a
speech, he stuck to his mind-numbing topic: "Retail payment systems."
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note ended up 9/32 at 105 4/32, dropping its yield 4 basis points to 5.805%, the lowest since Sept. 24. The five-year note gained 14/32 to 99 8/32, lowering its yield 11.1 basis points to 6.063%, the lowest since Dec. 13. The two-year note fell rose 4/32 to 100 12/32, cutting its yield 6.9 basis points to 6.293%, the lowest since Dec. 31. And the 30-year bond added 12/32 to 108 10/32, cropping its yield 2.5 basis points to 5.570%, the lowest since May 3.
Chicago Board of Trade
, the June
Treasury futures contract gained 6/32 to 99 11/32.
Treasuries also continue to benefit from very favorable supply-and-demand dynamics. With the Treasury Department using federal budget surplus funds to retire debt by buying long-maturity Treasury securities back from investors, the market is operating under the notion "that 10 years from now, there aren't going to be any Treasuries left," said Paul Kasriel, chief economist at
And recently, traders have started discounting the possibility that heavy April tax receipts will prompt an acceleration of the buyback program, said Chris Conkey, chief investment officer for fixed income at
Equally important, the impending debt shortage on the Treasury side hasn't yet stoked investor appetite for riskier types of debt. That's based in part on uncertainty, Kasriel said, over whether the Fed's recent interest-rate hikes are "starting to actually bite more than what's being reflected in the current economic statistics." As a result, yields on bonds from corporate and other private issuers remain relatively high.
Hardly any trading is taking place in that arena, Conkey added. He terms it a "quiet crisis." Liquidity in the risky bond markets "is as bad as it was in the fall of 1998," he said.
Currency and Commodities
The dollar rose mightily against the yen and weakened against the euro. It lately was worth 106.41 yen, up from 105.40. The euro was worth $0.9626, up from $0.9547. For more on currencies, please take a look at
Currency Watch column.
Crude oil for May delivery at the
New York Mercantile Exchange
fell to $23.85 a barrel, its lowest since Nov. 8, from $25.04.
Bridge Commodity Research Bureau Index
fell to 208.60 from 209.91.
Gold for June delivery at the
rose to $284.00 an ounce from $282.50.