Treasuries Close Flat After Lackluster Session
After trending higher over the past few sessions, treasuries showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Thursday.
Bond prices spent much of the trading day lingering near the unchanged line. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, ended the day flat at 1.614 percent.
Treasuries moved to the downside following the release of the results of the Treasury Department’s auction of $62 billion worth of seven-year notes but rebounded going into the close.
The seven-year note auction drew a high yield of 1.300 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.23, while the ten previous seven-year note auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.36.
The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.
Earlier this week, the Treasury revealed its auction of $60 billion worth of two-year notes attracted average demand, while its auction of $61 billion worth of five-year notes attracted slightly below average demand.
Meanwhile, bond traders seemed to shrug off a Labor Department report showing initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
The report said initial jobless claims slid to 684,000 in the week ended March 20th, a decrease of 97,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 781,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to decline to 730,000 from the 770,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the much bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 282,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed economic activity in the U.S. unexpectedly grew faster than previously estimated in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The report showed real gross domestic product surged up by 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 4.1 percent jump. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to be unrevised.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” accelerated coronavirus vaccine distribution combined with support from Congress will enable the U.S. to reopen the economy sooner than might have been expected.
Powell also said the Fed plans to gradually roll back its asset purchases as the economy makes substantial progress towards the Fed’s goals of maximum employment and price stability.
While Powell stressed the pullback in support will only come when the “economy has all but fully recovered.”
Looking ahead, trading on Friday may be impacted by reaction to reports on personal income and spending and consumer sentiment.