US Treasury yields extend gains after 10-year breaks 3% mark

Key Points
  • Markets around the globe are keeping a close eye on the U.S. bond market after the yield on the 10-year Treasury note topped 3 percent on Tuesday for the first time in several years.
  • The U.S. Treasury is set to auction $35 billion in five-year notes.

U.S. government debt yields continued their upward climb Wednesday, with the rate on the 10-year Treasury note edging above the 3 percent benchmark it hit Tuesday for the first time since 2014.

The yield on the two-year Treasury yield also extended its gains, up to over 2.5 percent and its highest level since September 2008.

The 10-year Treasury note yield was higher at around 3.028 percent at 2:38 a.m. ET, down from 3.033 percent hit earlier in the session, its highest level since January 2, 2014. The next key technical level for the 10-year yield is 3.05 percent, which would put the yield at its highest level since 2011.

Should the 10-year Treasury yield close higher than its open Wednesday, it will be the first time in two years that the rate has posted six consecutive daily increases, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

Source: Bespoke Investment Group

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was higher at 3.214 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

Markets around the globe are keeping a close eye on the U.S. bond market after the most recent move in yields exacerbated a sell-off in stocks on Tuesday.

The yield had been flirting with the all-important psychological 3 percent level for days but, once hit, financial markets around the world reacted.

"Traders, it seems, are finally giving the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield its due, by realizing that the prospect of higher U.S. real GDP growth, higher U.S. inflation warrants a higher yield," said Thierry Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Group. "A further cheapening of the US Treasury bond seems likely."


In economic data, total mortgage application volume fell 0.2 percent for the week and was 0.8 percent lower than a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted survey.On Tuesday, U.S. markets finished in the red, with the Dow closing down more than 400 points, while on Wednesday, markets in Europe and Asia were both trading deep in the red.

Applications to refinance a home loan fell 0.3 percent last week and were 16 percent lower than a year ago. Refinancing may have fallen as the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances increased to its highest level since September 2013.

The Treasury Department auctioned $35 billion in five-year notes at a high yield of 2.837 percent on Wednesday. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.49. Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 60.2 percent. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, bought 13.7 percent.

CNBC's J.R. Reed contributed to this report.