Bond Prices Rise After Mixed Economic Reports

NEW YORK (AP) - Treasury prices edged up Tuesday as investors sift through mixed economic reports amid unrest in the Middle East.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note added 15.6 cents per $100 invested. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, fell to 3.61 percent from 3.63 percent late Monday.

Disappointing retail sales in January and continued concerns over protests in Bahrain and Iran mostly were offset by reports showing that New York manufacturing conditions improved this month and businesses added to their inventories in December.

"It was a muddled session," said Mike Wallace, global market strategist at Action Economics. "The market is biased toward selling Treasurys, but we still have this Middle East risk factored in."

Wallace also noted that the weaker-than-expected retail sales figure could be attributed to the January snowstorms that blanketed much of the country.

Treasury prices have been slipping since last November as an increasing number of economic reports suggest that the economy is improving and as concerns about inflation increase.

Traders have more reports to decipher this week including housing starts on Tuesday, producer price index on Wednesday and the consumer price index on Thursday. The latter two are key measures of inflation.

The minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Reserve's chief policymaking group also is set to be released Wednesday. Investors will pour over the transcript to see if there has been any change in policy discussions.

In other trading, the price of the 30-year Treasury note rose 21.8 cents per $100 invested, while its yield fell to 4.66 percent from 4.68 percent. The yield on the two-year note slipped to 0.82 percent from 0.85 percent.

In the market for short-term bills, the three-month T-bill paid a 0.12 percent yield. Its discount was 0.13 percent.