Treasurys hold gains after 30-year bond sale



Bonds traded higher on Thursday after the U.S. government's auction of 30-year Treasury bonds, the last of three debt auctions this week.

The Treasury Department auctioned $13 billion in 30-year bonds at a high yield of 3.525 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.52, compared to a recent average of 2.36.

Bidding for this week's coupon supply has been uneven with solid appetite for Tuesday's $30 billion in three-year debt and tepid demand for Wednesday's $21 billion in 10-year notes.

On the open market, the benchmark 10-year note last traded up 16/32 in price to yield 2.64 percent. The 30-year bond rose 1 4/32 in price to yield 3.51 percent.

U.S. Treasurys gained on Wednesday after market-friendly minutes from the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting spurred a rally in short-to-medium notes, sending yields to three-week lows.

The latest Federal Open Market Committee minutes, released on Wednesday, suggested most policy-makers wanted to cling to a near-zero rate policy they adopted in December 2008 until the U.S. economy creates more jobs and an inflation rate that achieves its 2 percent target, analysts and traders said.

Longer-dated Treasurys have grown more expensive after a mildly disappointing March jobs report last week.

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"The Fed basically went out of its way to say we are not going to raise rates any time soon. This makes 30-year bond a tough sell at this level," said Mike Cullinane, head of Treasuries trading at D.A. Davidson & Co. in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Treasuries prices briefly turned flat after news jobless claims fell to their lowest weekly level since May 2007, signaling more improvement in the jobs sector.

The Fed on Thursday bought Treasurys maturing June 2018 through December 2018 as part of its economic stimulus program, the New York Fed said on its website.

FOMC minutes ease rate-hike worries

Disclosure of the FOMC's discussion over its bias to keep rates low mitigated earlier fears stemming from the Fed's summary of economic projections (SEP), which some traders interpreted to indicate the central bank might raise earlier and at a faster pace than they had thought.

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Compounding the perceived hawkish view on rates were remarks by Fed Chair Janet Yellen at a press conference after the March policy meeting, when she said the Fed might increase rates a "considerable time" after it completed its bond-purchase program, a period she defined as "around six months."

Traders dumped short-to-medium Treasurys in reaction to policy-makers' rate views and Yellen's remarks, resulting in the worst day for the five-year notes since July.

Since the March policy meeting, top Fed officials have downplayed Yellen's "six month" reference and the importance of the "dots" or the graphical presentation of SEP.

Late Wednesday, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said at an event in Washington, "We are well advised to proceed pragmatically."

—By Reuters with