Monday marked exactly four years since the Federal Reserve last raised rates-and the bond market acted as if a fifth year without a tightening were out of the question.
Interest rates rose as the bond market gave up whatever faint hope it still had of an easing and looked instead to future tightening.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose to 6.97% from 6.95% Friday. The yield on this benchmark security has risen 13 basis points in the past week.
Tightening Seen After July
The Fed's policymaking Federal Open Market Committee meets today, but it is expected to leave rates unchanged for now.
"A tightening is inevitable, though no sooner than July, when Alan Greenspan gives his Humphrey-Hawkins testimony," said Alan Levenson, money market economist at UBS Securities.
He said that before the government announced worse-than-expected increase in producer and consumer prices in April, there was some hope that the Fed might lower rates one more time to spur the economy.
"But the reports dashed any residual hopes that Fed may ease," he said.
The Fed last changed interest rates in September 1992, when it cut the target for the federal funds rate to 3% from 3.25%.
According to R.H. Wrightson & Associates, an economics consulting firm, the Fed last raised interest rates on May 17,1989, when it boosted the Fed funds target to 913/16% from 93/4%.
Short-term rates are also rising. At Monday's weekly auction, a total of $24 billion of three-and six-month Treasury bills were sold at average discounted rates of 3% and 3.10%, up form 2.89% and 2.99% last week. The three-month rate was the highest since January.
The Dollar rose, benefiting from investors' jitters about the deutsche mark ahead of today's Danish vote on European monetary union. The dollar finished at 1.6125 marks, up 1.6020 on Friday, and at 111.25 yen, up from 110.80.
Blue-chip stocks rose moderately, as strength in the drug sector offset a week bank sector. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 6.92 points, to 3,449.93.