BOND REPORT: Treasury Yields Pare Gains As Fed Policy Meeting Gets Underway

By Sunny OhFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Anticipated Fed rate hike on the radar for Wednesday

Treasury prices pared declines, allowing yields to stabilize, after strong appetite for an auction of long-dated debt. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has kicked off its closely watched two-day policy meeting, with a decision on interest rates expected Wednesday.

Continue Reading Below

What are Treasurys doings?

The 2-year note yield was flat at 1.829%. The 10-year note yield rose 1.6 basis point to 2.403%. The 30-year bond yield was up a basis point to 2.782%.

Bond prices move inversely to yields.

What's driving markets?

A strong auction for 30-year bonds helped pare the decline in prices. Sales of government paper can influence trading by introducing competing debt into the market, but a healthy appetite for the debt typically bodes well for secondary-trading prices, too.

Investors are seeing a lull in trading as busy bond buyers handle a strong rush of supply from corporate and municipal bonds with issuers looking to get ahead of the tax plan's passage and remain grandfathered under the old tax rules. That has temporarily shifted focus away from the market for government paper.

The Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank's rate-setting group, convened on Tuesday. It is expected to deliver a third interest-rate hike for the year when that meeting wraps up Wednesday. That fact and a bevy of other potentially market-moving news, including consumer-price index data, has captured investor attention.

See: What bond and currency traders are looking for from Yellen's Fed decision (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-bond-and-currency-traders-are-looking-for-from-yellens-fed-decision-2017-12-11)

What did market participants say?

"A primary reason for the tight core outlook for (10-year Treasurys) is the strong acceptance for the remaining supply in corporates -- already thinning -- and near record-level municipal bond sales that could be restricted if/when the tax bill passes. There is no particular reason to rush into Treasurys as they certainly will provide ample supply in 2018-2019," wrote Jim Vogel, an interest-rate strategist for FTN Financial.

Read: Municipal bonds see deluge of supply as Republican tax plan fears build (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/municipal-bonds-see-deluge-of-supply-as-republican-tax-plan-fears-build-2017-12-04)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/municipal-bonds-see-deluge-of-supply-as-republican-tax-plan-fears-build-2017-12-04)Also check out: Companies rush to sell bonds to get ahead of tax plan, sparking 'carnage' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/companies-rush-to-sell-bonds-to-get-ahead-of-tax-plan-sparking-carnage-2017-11-10)

What else is on investors' radar?

The NFIB small business optimism index climbed to 107.5 in November (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/small-business-sentiment-in-november-powers-to-the-second-highest-reading-on-record-2017-12-12), the second highest reading on record. Budding confidence that Congress will pass a tax cut has lifted small-business owners, who are classified as pass-through firms, one of the chief beneficiaries of the GOP tax plan (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-trumps-tax-bill-will-help-businesses-and-lobbyists-2017-11-08).

Wholesale prices rose 0.4% in November, pulling the inflation gauge up 3.1% over the past 12 months (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-wholesale-inflation-hits-nearly-6-year-high-adds-to-case-for-fed-rate-hike-2017-12-12). Higher producer prices can lead to building "pipeline" of inflationary pressures and is one reason forecasters are hopeful that the recent weakness in inflation will abate. That could discourage investors from snapping up long-dated Treasurys, whose value are worn down by higher prices.

How are other assets doing?

U.K. inflation rose at an annual rate of 3.1% in November thanks to higher air fares. The U.K. 10-year government bond yield was up by 1.6 basis point to 1.221%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 12, 2017 16:37 ET (21:37 GMT)