The Treasury market is under slight pressure this morning on extremely light volume, signifying lack of interest in bonds in the face of oil prices at a four-month high, Japan's
stock index at a seven-month high and the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
approaching the 10,000 level.
With no major economic indicators on the calendar and
scheduled to speak tomorrow morning, the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond was lately down 1/32 at 95 31/32, its yield unchanged at 5.53%. Shorter-maturity note yields were likewise little changed.
This morning's weakness notwithstanding, most Treasury yields are sitting roughly 15 basis points below their March 4 peak. But persistent low volume may flag the recent move as no more than a routine bounce off the lows -- with more losses to come, some market-watchers are saying. According to tracker
, volume was 45.3% below average for a first-quarter Monday at 10 a.m., with just $10.8 billion of Treasuries changing hands.
"I think the market's just caught up in a drift higher that's technically driven, because volume is low," said Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market strategist at
Miller Tabak Hirsch
. "This is not a good move in the market."
By contrast, Crescenzi says, look at the volume in Japanese stocks, which has been running at twice its six-month average and three times its three-month average. "That's what you want to see to validate a rally. People are interested. They think the market is cheap enough that they should own it." The Nikkei 225 closed at 15,779.60 last night, up 9.83% since March 1 and its best finish since Aug. 7.
In the Treasury market, low volume in the cash market and declining open interest in the futures market "shows narrower participation in the rally. Not enough people find it attractive."
People who bought Treasuries at their recent peak in yields are waiting for fundamental evidence that yields can continue to move lower, Crescenzi says. Instead they are looking at strong moves by the Nikkei, oil and U.S. stocks. "None of those things suggests that the economy might be able to slow on its own."