Treasuries rise for the fourth day as Greece weighs on investors; US stocks fall on fiscal cliff worries

(Bond Market Wrapup for November 13th, 2012) – Treasury 10-year yields slumped to their lowest levels since early September, pushing prices up for the fourth straight day as caution over the so-called fiscal cliff in the US and worries over Europe’s sovereign debt crisis spurred demand for low yielding US debts.

Yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes slipped 3 basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 1.59 percent after European leaders decided to withhold Greece’s latest round of emergency funding. Yield on 30-year Treasury bonds slipped 3 basis points to 2.72 percent, also their lowest since early September, before President Obama meets Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress this week to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

Bond funds performed mixed with the iShares Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) rising 42 cents, or 0.33 percent, $126.61, while the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) fell 1 cents, or 0.01 percent to $85.02.

US stocks gave up gains Tuesday after early optimism that came with home improvement retailer Home Depot’s better-than-expected earnings result gave way to fiscal cliff worries. Investors remained unwilling to place large bets while lawmakers negotiate a deal that would halt the onset of tax hikes and sharp spending cuts in January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped 58.90 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,756.18, after making early gains. The blue-chip index has now finished lower in four of the past five sessions. Breadth within the 30-component index turned lower as winners outpaced decliners 24 to 6 with most of the selloff coming in the final hour of trading.

Microsoft (MSFT) tumbled 3.3 percent following news that Steven Sinofsky, former president of Windows, has left the company.

Home Depot (HD) was the Dow’s biggest percentage gainer with a 3.6 percent rise after the Atlanta-based home improvement retailer raised its outlook for sales-growth for the full year and reported profits that beat expectations.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) shed 5.50 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1374.53 with technology and financials faring the worst and consumer discretionary and utilities performing the best among its 10 business groups.

The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index (COMP) tumbled 20.37 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 2883.89 after Apple Inc (AAPL) added 0.1 percent in choppy trading.

For every stock declining, more than two advanced on the NYSE.

Oil prices for December delivery slipped 19 cents to $85.38 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery fell $7.70 to $1,723.20 an ounce.

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