Investors continued to register concern on Thursday about a scarcity of longterm Treasury securities, sending yields on the government's 30-year bond into record territory again.
At 5 p.m. in New York, the 30-year bond yielded 6.21%, down from 6.25% on Wednesday. Longterm yields are down about 35 basis points in the last month.
"There has been a scramble for long-term paper," among insurance companies, pension funds, and arbitrageurs, said Douglas Schindewolf, economist for Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
Yields also fell on other maturities. The 10-year notes yielded 5.61%, down from 5.67%; five-year notes yielded 4.95%, down from 5.01%; and two-year notes yielded 3.91%, down from 3.94%.
The Treasury last week issued $11 billion of 30-year bonds. But this was the last sale of this maturity for six months, setting off the rush to buy the issue.
In the past, the government had sold the bonds every quarter, but it is limiting the supply of 30-year Treasuries to bring down the government's cost of borrowing.
|Enhanced Security Value'
Typically, investors are willing to pay a 5-basis-point premium for the new issue over the older 30-year Treasury, Mr. Schindewolf said. But the spread is now 15 basis points, reflecting the "enhanced scarcity value" of the new issue.
In addition, investors are bidding up prices of 30-year bonds on the belief that the spread between 10-year and 30-year securities - which has narrowed by about 15 basis points to 55 since last week - will continue to narrow, said Mark Grant, managing director of Rodman & Renshaw.
The strength of the 30-year bond is not based on fundamental economic factors, and that has puzzled some market participants, said Kathleen Stephansen, senior economist at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. "Whenever that occurs, it raises the possibility of a major correction," she warned.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.27 points to a record 3,612.13. The dollar rose to 105.89 yen from 101.60 on Federal Reserve purchases.