After moving lower over the course of the previous session, treasuries showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Wednesday.
Bond prices spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, edged down by less than a basis point to 1.302 percent.
The choppy trading on the day came following the release of a mixed batch of U.S. economic data, with separate reports showing weaker than expected private sector job growth but an unexpected acceleration in the pace of manufacturing sector growth.
Payroll processor ADP released a report showing private sector employment climbed by 374,000 jobs in August after rising by a downwardly revised 326,000 jobs in July.
Economists had expected employment to jump by 613,000 jobs compared to the addition of 330,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
“The Delta variant of COVID-19 appears to have dented the job market recovery,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Job growth remains strong, but well off the pace of recent months.”
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showed manufacturing activity in the U.S. unexpectedly grew at a slightly faster rate in the month of August.
The ISM said its manufacturing PMI inched up to 59.9 in August from 59.5 in July, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the sector. The uptick surprised economists, who had expected the index to dip to 58.6.
Traders also remained reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.
Reports on weekly jobless claims, the U.S. trade deficit and factory orders may attract attention on Thursday, although trading activity is likely to remain somewhat subdued.