LONDON: German Bund futures fell on Tuesday, consolidating the previous session's sharp rise as markets looked for positives in progress towards a deal on Greek debt writedowns and the agreement of a new European fiscal pact.
Bund futures -- one of the euro zone's safest assets and a gauge of investor sentiment -- slipped 17 ticks to 139.50. On Monday, the contract rose close to its record high of 140.23 after a slew of rating downgrades and with markets targeting Portugal as the bloc's next weakest link behind Greece.
European leaders gave their approval to strict new measures on sovereign budget discipline, intended to prevent a repeat of the massive debt accumulation currently pushing some to abandon investments in higher-risk euro zone states. Only Britain and the Czech Republic refused to sign the compact in March.
The steps were likely to be interpreted by investors as a long-term positive, but short-term worries over Greece and Portugal were set to prevent a significant drop in demand for safe-haven Bunds.
"Dips are going to be shallow and well-bought... We were expecting them (the EU) to agree to this deal and so most of that was in the price yesterday. Greece and Portugal still hold the key to this market," a trader said.
Greek negotiations with private creditors on the bondholder losses needed to get the country's debt on a more sustainable path and unlock much-needed aid funding are thought to be inching towards a conclusion.
Markets were likely to take copmfort from any further signs of progress in the talks, although the relief was set to be limited by the knock-on effect to Portugal, where many now believe a similar writedown of public debt is inevitable.
On Monday Portuguese bond yields soared and underwriters of insurance contracts on its bonds began demanding payment up front.