Yields range-bound ahead of presidential debate, jobs data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury yields fell slightly on Tuesday, trading within a tight range as investors held off from making large moves ahead of the presidential debate later in the day and employment data due on Wednesday and Friday.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note US10YT=RR has opened or closed within a range of 0.65% to 0.70% for 15 consecutive sessions, said Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income at NatAlliance Securities. The yield opened 0.658% on Tuesday and was last trading lower at 0.651%.

The long bond US30YT=RR yield edged down 0.6 basis point to 1.417%. The two-year yield US2YT=RR was down 0.4 basis point on the day at 0.127%. The anchored two-year yield has pulled the yield curve, as measured by the spread between the two- and 10-year yields US2US10=TWEB, slightly flatter.

“Treasuries are poised to make a move,” said Brenner, pointing to the tightening trading range. “These are wound-up in a narrow range.”

Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden will go head-to-head in their first televised debate on Tuesday evening. With five weeks to go until the Nov. 3 general election, the stakes are high.

But the low levels of implied volatility measured by the MOVE index suggest investors believe the debate will be a non-event for financial markets, said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets.

A light schedule of data releases at the start of the week has also kept Treasuries within a tight range. A breakout may be possible if there are major surprises in Wednesday’s ADP National Employment Report or Friday’s closely watched U.S. monthly payrolls figures.

“The range-bound nature of the move (in Treasury yields) supports the notion of a collective reluctance to chase the price action ahead of Friday’s jobs report,” said Lyngen.

Treasuries have an opportunity to break out of the current ranges because of this week’s pause in government note and bond issuance, said Brenner. The Treasury Department has issued more than $3 trillion in new debt since the end of February.

Reporting by Kate Duguid; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Richard Chang