Markets & Stocks > Bonds & Rates
Bonds tip higher, dollar mixed
Treasurys edge up on mixed housing data, Fed's comment Tuesday; dollar rises against yen.
September 17, 2003: 9:11 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Treasury prices inched higher early Wednesday, as investors considered mixed readings on the housing market after the Fed's decision to leave interest rates unchanged Tuesday.

Just after 9 a.m. ET, the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 9/32 of a point in price to 100-1/32, yielding 4.24 percent, down from 4.26 percent in late trading Tuesday. The 30-year bond added 14/32 of a point to 103-1/32, with its yield slipping to 5.16 percent from 5.18 percent Tuesday.

The five-year note rose 1/16 of a point in price to 100-3/32, yielding 3.10 percent, while the two-year note was unchanged at 100-24/32, with a 1.59 percent yield. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

Meanwhile, the dollar rose against the yen and slid versus the euro. The euro bought $1.1209, up from $1.1187 late Tuesday, while the dollar bought 116.40, up from 116.13 Tuesday.

The government said housing starts declined a greater-than-expected 3.8 percent in August to an annual rate of 1.82 million from a revised 1.89 million in the prior month. Economists surveyed by had expected a 2-percent drop. But building permits rose to a 1.886 million unit rate from a 1.8 million rate in July. Economists had expected the rate to hold steady.

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America said its refinancing index fell 15.4 percent in the week ended Sept. 12, while its market index, a gauge of overall mortgage lending fell 5.8 percent. As interest rates have risen in recent months, mortgage activity has steadily declined.

Bond traders found some solace in the Federal Reserve Open Market committee's decision to leave the fed funds rate alone Tuesday.

While the decision was expected by economists, the central bank's comment that disinflation was slightly more of a concern than inflation at this point sent bonds higher. The comment indicated that the Fed is unlikely to raise rates in the near future, despite increasing signs that the economy is on the rebound.

Investors also looked ahead to the Philadelphia Fed's reading on regional manufacturing and the FOMC meeting minutes, set to be released Thursday. Thursday's reading on new weekly jobless claims was also eagerly awaited, as recent reports have shown a stagnant labor market. Economists have said growth in jobs is necessary to help the economy enter a full recovery mode.  Top of page

-- from staff and wire reports

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