Greek vote, Fed dents Treasurys

Safe-haven U.S. Treasury prices fell on Thursday after Greece's parliament voted for sweeping reforms needed to secure a bailout and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank is likely to raise rates this year.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury note was flat at 2.36 percent, while 30-year bond yields fell 2 basis points to 3.12 percent. The yield on a bond rises when its price falls.


Fed chief Yellen's delivers the second leg of her semi-annual testimony to Congress, speaking in front of the Senate Banking Committee later on Thursday.

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On Wednesday, Yellen repeated her view that the Fed will probably raise interest rates from near-zero levels this year if the U.S. economy continues to pick up speed.

"We think there will probably be a rate rise in September but it will depend on the data flow," Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec told CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange" on Thursday.

"There has been a trend towards more hawkish comments from Fed speakers," he added.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before a House Financial Services committee hearing July 15, 2015.
Yuri Gripas | Reuters

Indeed, currency traders appear to have interpreted Yellen's remarks to Congress as hawkish, helping push the dollar to a six-week high against the euro.

Attention meanwhile turned to the European Central Bank, which kept interest rates unchanged, as expected, but investors looked for comments on Greece by ECB President Mario Draghi.

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Draghi said the ECB continues to act as though Greece will remain within the euro and the central bank has decided to raise emergency funds to Greek banks by 900 million euros.

The Eurogroup also released a statement saying "we reached today a decision to grant in principle a 3-year ESM stability support to Greece, subject to the completion of relevant national procedures."

On the data front, U.S. jobless claims data came in better than expected at 281,000. Analysts expected claims to come in at 285,000.