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Treasuries were weaker in the late afternoon, off from last Friday's gains, as stocks forged higher amid positive earnings news from


. The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note was lately down 8/32 to 100 19/32, raising the yield to 4.924%. The 30-year bond was down 14/32 to 98 8/32, moving the yield up to 5.495%.

The bond market received a lift on Friday following the release of a weak

employment report, which spooked stock market bulls into a retreat. Nevertheless, some analysts and economists believe that Friday's

jobs release, which indicated slowing job growth amid rising wages, may not be enough to compel the

Federal Reserve to make an inter-meeting rate cut.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting on the fiscal 2002 budget this morning,

U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill

reportedly said that the U.S. economy was "working through a correction but continued to grow modestly." Secretary O'Neill also said the medium and long-term potential of the U.S. and global economy was "monumental," according to a report by



But Bruce Steinberg, chief economist of

Merrill Lynch,

thinks that the economy may still be on the brink of a recession. In a research report today, Steinberg called the decline in March payrolls by 86,000 jobs "disheartening," as "employment usually starts declining in the first month of a recession."

"For now, we are sticking to our view that the economy is as close to recession as it can be without being in one," Steinberg wrote. "The Fed will hopefully cut rates inter-meeting. We are looking for a 50 basis point move at any time."

With no other economic data out today, the bond market is holding its breath for Thursday's

retail sales report and

Producer Price Index

, which will provide further insight into the health of the economy and sharpen expectations of the Fed's next move.