Treasuries Climb Well Off Worst Levels But Still Close Lower

After coming under pressure early in the session, treasuries regained ground over the course of the trading day on Thursday.

Bond prices climbed well off their worst levels of the day but still closed in negative territory. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, rose by 2 basis points to 2.341 percent after reaching a high of 2.386 percent.

The early weakness among treasuries came following the rebound seen in the previous session, as traders looked to pick bonds at somewhat reduced levels amid the potential for an aggressive interest rate hike strategy by the Federal Reserve.

Selling pressure waned over the course of the session, however, as treasuries benefited from their appeal as a safe haven amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Traders kept an eye on any developments out of Europe, where President Joe Biden is meeting with U.S. allies in Brussels.

The Biden administration has imposed additional sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, targeting dozens of Russian defense companies, 328 members of the Russian State Duma, and the head of Russia’s largest financial institution.

With Europe depending heavily on Russian gas for heating and power generation, the European Union is split on whether to sanction Russia’s energy sector.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in over 50 years in the week ended March 19th.

The report showed initial jobless claims slid to 187,000, a decrease of 28,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 215,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 212,000 from the 214,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 182,000 in September 1969.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods tumbled by much more than expected in the month of February amid a sharp pullback in orders for transportation equipment.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders slumped by 2.2 percent in February after jumping by 1.6 percent in January. Economists had expected durable goods orders to dip by 0.5 percent.

Excluding the steep drop in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders fell by 0.6 percent in February after climbing by 0.8 percent in January. The decrease surprised economists, who had expected ex-transportation orders to rise by 0.6 percent.

Reports on consumer sentiment and pending home sales may attract attention on Friday, while traders are also likely to keep an eye on comments by several Fed officials

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