Rumors and innuendos propelled shorter dated Treasuries higher Wednesday, while a heavy corporate calender dampened gains at the long end. Talk out of London of strong retail sales, up as much as 3%, put Treasuries on cautiously bearish footing heading into retail sales data. While the print of a much softer than expected 0.3% gain in sales quickly forced shorts to cover and curve flattening trades to be unwound, the bullish reaction was muted by expectations Greenspan would be out in the afternoon with a more upbeat comments on the economy.
Hedging of a heavy corporate calendar also limited the upside. Indeed, the surprise upsizing in the GECC deal to $11 billion(from $6 billion), with most of the increase coming in the 30-year bond, knocked the long end under water. However, Greenspan's apparent flip-flop back to his more cautious February 27 testimony reignited the short end.
Adding fuel to the gains was a late-day plunge in stocks on rumors foot and mouth disease has appeared in Kansas cattle. The short end maintained its outperformance on the day, widening the curve out to 227 basis points. The bond closed unchanged.