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Treasury prices ease as Wall Street rallies

U.S. Markets Overview: Treasurys chart

U.S. Treasury debt prices softened on Monday, giving back some gains from last week as equity markets rose on signs China was moving to bolster its massive economy.

As Wall Street stocks jumped, yields on the 10-year note stayed well below the 2 percent touched last week and were last up 2 basis points at 1.96 percent.

The long bond was yielding 2.56 percent, up 3 basis points.

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Stocks, which often move inversely from bonds in prices, surged to seven-year highs in China, helped by Beijing's unveiling of an ambitious plan to build a modern Silk Road to Europe and Africa.

Wall Street got added lift from a flurry of biotech merger deals and European shares were also up on Monday.

Analysts say investment in the "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure initiative this year alone could reach 300 billion to 400 billion yuan ($48-64 billion).

U.S. Markets Overview: Treasurys chart

Comments from People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan added to expectations of more monetary policy easing.

"There's a little bit of a risk-on trade," said Larry Milstein, head of U.S. government and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co. in New York.

Shorter Treasury maturities were narrowly mixed as mutual funds and institutional investors readied portfolios for the end of 2015's first quarter on Tuesday and the U.S. unemployment reports on Friday, when most markets will be closed.

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That end-of-quarter demand should limit price declines in Treasurys during coming days, Milstein said.

Prices perked up after the U.S. Commerce Department reported that consumer spending edged up 0.1 percent after dropping 0.2 percent in January. Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, to increase 0.2 percent last month.

"Consumer spending was a little less than expected, and that is a little bit supportive of Treasurys," Milstein said.