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US Treasurys higher as investors digest data, OPEC report

Traders in the 10-year bond options pit at the Chicago Board of Trade signal orders.
Frank Polich | Reuters
Traders in the 10-year bond options pit at the Chicago Board of Trade signal orders.

U.S. government debt prices rose on Thursday as investors digested the release of ADP payroll data and a report saying OPEC decided to keep its production policy unchanged.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.802 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond also dipped to 2.576 percent. Two-year yields dropped to 0.883 percent.

Major U.S. stock averages were trading slightly higher on Thursday.

Symbol
Yield
 
Change
%Change
US 3-MO
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US 1-YR
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US 2-YR
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US 5-YR
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US 10-YR
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US 30-YR
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Job growth continued to cool in May, with private companies adding 173,000 new positions, according to a report Thursday from ADP and Moody's Analytics.

The closely watched private payrolls count was right around Wall Street expectations, with economists surveyed by Reuters anticipating growth of 175,000. The number also was a bit higher than April, which posted an upwardly revised 166,000 new jobs. The ADP/Moody's count has averaged 188,000 in 2016.

On the oil front, OPEC refrained from changing its oil output policy on Thursday, meaning the organization failed to agree on a new production ceiling, an OPEC delegate told Reuters.

Crude prices fell soon after the report, but reversed course, with Brent last trading 1 percent higher at $50.19 a barrel and WTI crude up 0.6 percent at $49.28.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged, as expected. The bank added that it will start buying corporate bonds on June 8.

Many of the March measures, like the corporate debt buys and the cheap loans, called targeted longer-term refinancing operations, have yet to be implemented however, suggesting that the ECB will want to wait, perhaps until the autumn, to gauge how its past measures are taking effect.

ECB President Mario Draghi said in a news conference that inflation rates are likely to remain very low or negative in coming months, Dow Jones reported. He added that inflation should pick up in the second half of 2016.

The ECB raised its 2016 inflation forecast to 0.2 percent from 0.1 percent seen in March and kept its longer-term forecasts steady, with expectations of a 1.6 percent inflation rate in 2018, still short of its target of almost 2 percent.

—CNBC's Jeff Cox and Reuters contributed to this report.