Treasury 10-year notes advanced, while commodities retreated and U.S. stocks fluctuated, after President Barack Obama held his ground about raising tax rates for the highest-income Americans. The dollar weakened.
Yields on 10-year notes slipped one basis point to 1.61 percent at 3:28 p.m. in New York while the S&P GSCI gauge of commodities slid 0.9 percent as cocoa and silver led declines. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fluctuated near 1,409. The Dollar Index slipped 0.3 percent for a fifth straight decline, its longest slump in more than a year. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index of stocks closed less than 0.1 percent higher after rallying 0.4 percent earlier.
Obama said in a Bloomberg Television interview that a Republican offer on resolving the so-called fiscal cliff doesn’t go far enough and won’t raise the revenue needed to shrink the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. The administration’s rejection of a Republican plan that omits higher tax rates for top-earning Americans leaves the issue unresolved with about four weeks left before more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts start taking effect.
“The clock is ticking,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist for Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc., which oversees more than $1 trillion. “The focus is on what goes on in Washington. The market will be volatile. You’ve got to be very well hedged given that the market is so much headline-driven.”
Treasury yields approached the lows for the day after Obama’s interview and bond purchases by the Federal Reserve. The Fed bought $1.87 billion of Treasuries are part of its program to keep borrowing rates low to spur economic growth.
Economists have cut their forecasts for the yield at the end of this year to the lowest since Bloomberg began surveying for the projection, on concern U.S. politicians will struggle to avert the fiscal cliff. The 10-year rate will probably be 1.64 percent by Dec. 31, less than the 1.75 percent rate that economists saw at the start of November, according to Bloomberg surveys of the predictions.
Health-care, industrial and commodity companies led gains among the 10 main industry groups in the S&P 500, while telephone, utility and financial shares retreated. Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. fell more than 3 percent on bets China may increase scrutiny of junket operators in Macau, who provide credit to high-stake gamblers.