Treasurys turn higher as traders digest US data

US 10-YR
US 30-YR

U.S. bond prices moved higher on Thursday, as investors digested a blitz of U.S. economic data and looked ahead to Fed chair Janet Yellen's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium on Friday.

U.S. existing home sales rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million, the highest since last September, the latest sign that the housing recovery is picking up steam, according the the National Association of Realtors.

Earlier, the Labor Department said the number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefit last week fell 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000, while the prior week's numbers were revised up to 311,000.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes—used to calculate mortgage rates and other consumer loans—was down modestly at 2.41 percent.

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Central bankers are due to meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, although all eyes are on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech at the conference on Friday.

It comes after the U.S. Federal Reserve released minutes of its July meeting on Wednesday, which took on a more hawkish tone. They showed officials discussed raising interest rates sooner, but continued to disagree on how much the labor market is improving.

"(The) release of the minutes of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting offered little in the way of new information about the timing of the first hike in the FFR (Federal Funds Rate), but did tell us a bit more about the path to get there," Daiwa economists said in a note Thursday morning.

"Despite a growing divergence of views on the committee about the potential timing of the first rate hike, it is clear that the first hike remains some way off for most."

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Prices of Treasurys hit session lows following the release of the minutes, and U.S. equity markets rose.