Finally, Buyers

Last week's selloff created bargains in the Treasury market.
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They may as well be Christmas cards, the way they've gotten marked down in the last few trading sessions. But finally investors are taking notice, and bond prices are improving for the first trading session in five.

The benchmark 30-year Treasury bond, which ended Thursday down more than 3 points from its Dec. 18 high of 103 28/32, was lately up 23/32 at 101 6/32, dropping its yield 5 basis points to 5.17%.

The only real impetus for today's move, beyond the fact that last week's selloff marked bonds down to what some investors consider bargain prices, is the recovery in Japanese government bond prices on Friday and today. JGB yields shot up last week on the news that the government will be issuing lots more and buying far less of them next year. But over the weekend, reminders that the Japanese economy is still in really bad shape -- the unemployment rate rose to a record 4.4% in November -- spurred buying. The yield on the benchmark 10-year JGB, which spiked from 1.51% to 1.90% on Tuesday, recovered to 1.75% on Friday and to 1.69% today.

There is no U.S. economic news today, and volume remains year-end light, especially so because British markets are closed. According to tracker


, volume was 43.5% below average by 10 a.m. EST at $10.6 billion.

"There's really nothing going on today," said Richard Gilhooly, senior bond strategist at

Paribas Capital Markets

. "We were off 4 points last week for no particular reason on thin volume, and we're recovering some part of that today. JGBs recovered a point on Friday, and we've taken our cue from that, I think."