US Treasurys rise amid geopolitical concerns; 10-year briefly dips below 2.3%


U.S. government debt prices rose on Monday as investors awaited talks between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian officials and digested a 10-year note sale.

Tillerson has been mandated by foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) major industrialized nations to put pressure on Russia to break ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Tillerson said Tuesday U.S. will stand up against anyone who commits crimes against humanity.

"We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world," Tillerson told reporters while commemorating a German Nazi massacre committed in Italy in 1944.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes, which moves inversely to price, was lower at around 2.3 percent and briefly fell below that level. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also lower at 2.937 percent. The 30-year yield also hit its lowest level since Jan. 17, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department auctioned $20 billion in 10-year notes at a high yield of 2.332 percent on Tuesday. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.48.

Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 65.2 percent. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, bought 5.3 percent.

On the data front, the NFIB small business optimism index slipped to 104.7 in March from 105.3 in February.

In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $56.10 a barrel on Tuesday, up 0.2 percent, while U.S. crude was around $53.27 a barrel, up 0.3 percent, after Dow Jones reported that Saudi Arabia wants OPEC to extend production cuts.

—Reuters contributed to this report.