US Treasurys mixed after 3-year notes sale

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

U.S. government debt prices traded mixed on Tuesday as investors focused on economic data and digested a Treasury Department sale.

The department auctioned $24 billion in three-year notes on Tuesday at a high yield of 1.472 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.97.

Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 54.6 percent. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, bought 6.6 percent.

The U.S. three-year note yield held at 1.499 percent, slightly below breakeven.


The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes, which moves inversely to price, was slightly higher at 2.379 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also higher at 2.971 percent.

The NFIB's small business survey results for December showed sentiment soaring to a 12-year high. Wholesale inventories, meanwhile, rose 1 percent, slightly above estimates. The job openings and labor turnover survey (JOLTS) for November showed job openings remained little changed at 5.5 million. That said, the number of people quitting their jobs hit a record high, which shows confidence in the economy.

"Net, net, the labor market churn is a positive sign for the broader economy and the labor market with the number of workers quitting their job at a new record high since the recession ended," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank North America.

In oil markets, U.S. crude settled at $50.82 a barrel, down 2.19 percent. The benchmark had traded higher earlier in the session.