US Treasury yields hold higher after auction

Bond traders at CME Group
Getty Images

U.S. government debt prices held lower on Thursday after the Treasury Department auctioned $13 billion in 30-year bonds at a high yield of 2.978 percent.

Yields, which move inversely to prices, had climbed earlier in the day as investors monitored oil prices and awaited the sale.

For the auction, the bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.42. Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 63.9 percent, above a recent average of 54 percent. Direct bidders, which include domestic money managers, bought 10.4 percent, versus a recent average of 11 percent.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note sat higher, at around 2.2349 percent, after closing at 2.208 percent.

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also higher, at 2.2706 percent, after closing at 2.961 percent. Thursday will see $13 billion of 30-year bonds auctioned.

US 10-YR
US 30-YR

On Thursday Brent crude traded at around $39.71 a barrel, down 1 percent, while U.S. crude was at around $36.85 a barrel, down 0.8 percent. Oil hit near seven-year lows this week with OPEC failing to cut its production quotas after its meeting last Friday.

On the data front, initial jobless claims came in at 282,000, higher than the previous week and above the expected 269,000.

"The level of firing's remains muted as in a tight labor market with near 40 yr lows in participation employers are holding tight to the employees they have (outside of energy and manufacturing)," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note.

Import prices fell 0.4 percent in November as the cost of oil and several goods continued to decline.

The Federal Budget is also due at 2:00 p.m.

— CNBC's Patti Domm, Katy Barnato and Reuters contributed to this report