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Treasurys traded higher on Thursday as the U.S. government's auction of 30-year bonds, the last of three debt auctions this week, was met with weak demand.
The Treasury Department auctioned $16 billion in 30-year bonds at a high yield of 2.560 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.26, well below the 2.47 recent average.
Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 49.4 percent, well above the 47 percent average. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, brought 15.5 percent, versus a recent average of 18 percent.
In the wake of the auction data, the 10-year Treasury is up 4/32 in price, with the yield at 1.97 percent.
The 30-year bond pared some gains after the announcement and was last trading up 14/32 in price, leaving the yield at 2.57 percent, compared to 2.55 percent before the auction.
U.S. Treasury prices pulled up from overnight lows on Thursday as weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales and weekly jobless claims reports inserted some caution into the economic backdrop and forecasting of U.S. monetary policy.
The data, which showed U.S. consumer spending barely rebounded in January suggests economic growth was slow in the first quarter, and caused a knee-jerk reaction to buy.
The number of American's filing for first-time jobless claims rose more than expected last week, however the underlying trend remains consistent with a strengthening labor market.
Investors, seeing a potential deescalation in the conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the wee hours of Thursday with a new cease-fire agreement, had trimmed their positions in safe-haven U.S. Treasurys.
"The overnight news on the ceasefire was positive on the geopolitical front, and Treasurys sold off. However, the data this morning on retail sales and jobless claims turned it around. Nothing more complicated than that," said Michael Pond, global head of inflation market strategy at Barclays in New York.
Just ahead of the retail sales and jobless claims reports the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was down close to half a point in price, keeping the yield above the 2 percent mark.