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US Treasurys higher after 3-year notes sale, Fed hike expectations fade

U.S. sovereign bond prices were higher Tuesday as expectations of a June rate hike faded further and as investors digested a Treasury Department sale.

The department auctioned $24 billion in three-year notes at a high yield of 0.93 percent Tuesday. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.79.

Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 48.1 percent, below a 10-auction average of 51 percent. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, bought 11.1 percent, slightly under a 10-auction average of 12 percent.

The yield on three-year notes, which moves inversely to its price, last traded at 0.9292 percent.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was lower at 1.7177 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond held at 2.5377 percent. Two-year note yields dipped slightly, last trading at 0.7793 percent.

U.S. Markets Overview: Treasurys chart

Global stocks were on the rise after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered a rather upbeat speech on the state of the U.S. economy, but gave little indication of a June rate rise, prompting investors to push out expectations of the next interest rate hike.

On the data front, the Labor Department said on Tuesday productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, contracted at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent, instead of the 1.0 percent pace reported last month. The revision, which reflected modestly higher output than previously estimated, was in line with economists' expectations.

Consumers also slowed their borrowing in April after pushing up their debt levels by a record amount in March.

The Fed said total borrowing increased by $13.4 billion in April, down from a revised March increase of $28.4 billion, which had been the largest monthly increase on record.

—Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.