Treasury Department auctions $28 billion of 7-year notes at a high yield of 2.28%

U.S. government debt prices were higher on Thursday, as investors pored over the latest remarks by the European Central Bank.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note sat lower at around 2.43 percent at 9:44 a.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was down at 2.942 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

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US 1-YR
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US 10-YR
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While earnings are expected to dominate the agenda on Wall Street, when it comes to the bond markets, it's all about economic data and the ECB.

The ECB decided Thursday to cut the level of bonds it purchases every month, but extend the length of time that its stimulus program runs.

Its purchases will fall to 30 billion euros ($35 billion) from 60 billion euros, starting in January. The central bank said it will extend its monetary stimulus program until at least September of next year.

On the data front, claims for unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 for the week ended Oct. 21. The Labor Department announced that claims fell to 223,000 in the prior week, the lowest level since March 1973, reported Reuters.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will be in Minnesota, delivering remarks at the Minneapolis Fed's Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Fall conference. Discussion of who will take on the role of Fed Chair in early 2018 will also remain a key topic of conversation among investors Thursday.

In a Reuters poll published recently, a slight majority of economists are expecting Fed Governor Jerome Powell to become the next chair of the Federal Reserve. The survey also showed that many respondents saw current Chair Janet Yellen as being the best option.

The Treasury Department auctioned $28 billion in 7-year notes at a high yield of 2.28 percent.
The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.39.

Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 63.4 percent. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, bought 13.3 percent.

In the energy markets, oil prices were under slight pressure in morning trade.