Treasuries moved to the upside during trading on Thursday, partly offsetting the weakness seen over the two previous sessions.
Bond prices moved higher in morning trading and remained firmly positive throughout the afternoon. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, fell by 2.8 basis points to 0.920 percent.
The strength among treasuries may have reflected uncertainty ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.
Economists expect employment to increase by about 469,000 jobs in November after jumping by 638,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 6.8 percent from 6.9 percent.
Ahead of the monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report showing a much bigger than expected decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended November 28th.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped to 712,000, a decrease of 75,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 787,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 775,000 from the 778,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showed the slight pullback in the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity continued in the month of November.
The ISM said its services PMI edged down to 55.9 in November after dipping to 56.6 in October, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth. Economists had expected the index to slip to 56.0.
Traders also kept an eye on developments in Washington, as lawmakers have resumed negotiations over a new fiscal stimulus bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said a “compromise is within reach” but continues to favor his narrower approach to stimulus.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif., deputy chief staff Drew Hammill noted the two leaders spoke by phone this afternoon and have a “shared commitment to completing an omnibus and COVID relief as soon as possible.”
Both Democrats and Republicans have offered new stimulus proposals, although it remains to be seen if lawmakers will finally reach an agreement after months of stagnation.
Trading on Friday is likely to be driven by reaction to the monthly jobs report, which will overshadow separate reports on the U.S. trade deficit and factory orders.