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Treasurys rise on debt concerns, auction results

January 29, 2010 | The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Interest rates fell in the bond market Thursday as concern about soaring debts and hard-hit banks ratcheted up demand for safe haven investments.

Investors moved into Treasurys as major U.S. stock indexes fell by more than 1 percent. Yields dropped as Treasury prices gained.

Concern about strained finances in countries like Greece and Portugal and about banks in Britain pushed investors into holdings deemed as safer, including Treasurys.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note that matures in November 2019 -- a benchmark for interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans -- fell to 3.64 percent from 3.66 percent late Wednesday. Its price rose 3/32 to 97 26/32.

Standard & Poor's said in a report Thursday that it no longer considers Britain's banking system among the "most stable and low-risk." Traders said while the concerns weren't new, they underscored the cautious tone that has emerged in global markets since last week.

Downbeat forecasts from technology companies like Qualcomm Inc., which makes technologies used in cell phones, and the debt concerns pulled stocks lower for the sixth time in nine days. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 116 points, or 1.1 percent.

Demand for Treasurys also rose after an auction of $32 billion in seven-year notes on Thursday drew robust demand. The bid-to-cover ratio, a measure of demand, came in at 2.85, above the 2.72 seen at an auction in December.

The yield on the two-year note maturing in January 2012 fell to 0.87 percent from 0.92 percent. Its price rose 3/32 to 100.

The yield of the 30-year bond that matures in November 2039 dropped to 4.55 percent from 4.57 percent, while its price rose 7/32 to 97 4/32.

The yield on the three-month T-bill that matures April 29 was unchanged at 0.07 percent and its discount rate was 0.08 percent.

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