(Reuters) - Speculators turned mildly bullish on U.S. 10-year Treasury note futures earlier this week before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's two-day testimony in Congress, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.
The amount of speculators' bullish, or long, positions in 10-year Treasury futures exceeded bearish, or short, positions by 17,735 contracts on July 16, according to the CFTC's latest Commitments of Traders data.
This compared with 47,110 more in speculative short positions than long positions the prior week..
"The move into net long territory is consistent with the recent stabilization and partial retracement of losses across the Treasury curve," Gennadiy Goldberg, interest rate strategist at TD Securities wrote in a research note.
Specs had hoped Bernanke would assure markets by stating the U.S. central bank will cling to its near-zero interest rate policy for a long time, even after it pares back its current bond purchase program, known as quantitative easing, or QE3.
On Wednesday, Bernanke told the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee that interest rates "will continue to be exceptionally low...to help maintain a high degree of monetary accommodation for an extended period after asset purchases end, even as the economic recovery strengthens and unemployment declines toward more-normal levels.
On Friday, 10-year T-note futures on the Chicago Board of Trade for September delivery closed 11/32 higher at 127-3/32, while the yield on cash 10-year Treasury notes fell 5.0 basis points to 2.484 percent, according to Reuters data.
Speculators, however, trimmed bullish bets on two-year and five-year Treasury note futures, according to the latest weekly CFTC Commitments of Traders figures.
Speculators' long positions in two-year T-note futures exceeded their shorts by 8,215 contracts on Tuesday. A week earlier, they were 11,717 net long in two-year T-note futures.
Their long trades in five-year Treasury note futures exceeded short positions by 81,643 contracts - 7,428 less than the previous week.
Speculators added slightly to their net short bets on longer-dated bond futures before Bernanke's testimony.
They increased their net shorts in 30-year bond futures by 2,621 contracts to 8,190 on Tuesday.
The net shorts in ultra-long T-bond futures rose by 1,565 contracts to 12,946 in the latest week.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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