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Treasurys up on home sales drop

January 06, 2010 | CNNMoney.com

Treasury prices rose Tuesday after a report showed that pending home sales fell more than expected in November, boosting the appeal of bonds as safe havens for investors.

What prices are doing: The benchmark 10-year note rose 17/32 to 96-28/32, and its yield fell to 3.75%.

The 30-year bond was up 19/32 to 96-8/32, and its yield was 4.61%. The 2-year note edged up 3/32 to 99-31/32, and its yield dropped to 1.03%. The yield on the 3-month bill was 0.07%.

Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. Yields tend to rise on increasing economic optimism, and Treasurys fall as investors choose higher risk investments.

Treasurys were mixed on Monday after two holiday-shortened weeks of thin trading.

What's driving prices: On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales dropped 16% in November, the first decline in nine months. Analysts expected a 2% decrease, according to a consensus estimate from Briefing.com.

What analysts are saying: "The fact that we had a fairly sizable decline in pending home sales is certainly giving [Treasurys] a boost," said Peter Cardillo, a chief market strategist at Avalon Partners.

The big news for investors will come Friday, when the government announces the unemployment rate. A better-than-expected number could weigh on Treasurys, he said.

Going deeper into 2010, Cardillo said he expects the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, driving yields higher and pressuring Treasury prices.

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