U.S. government debt prices rose on Thursday as investors pored through disappointing employment data.
Private companies added 163,000 jobs last month, according to ADP and Moody's Analytics. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 190,000. The report comes ahead of the US. government's nonfarm payrolls report, which is set for release Friday.
"Bottom line, for now I'll continue to say the difficulty in filling job openings remains the biggest impediment to faster job growth in the service sector," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at the Bleakley Advisory Group. "For construction workers particularly in housing, the supply of them is scant but the demand for them might just be on the cusp of slowing down."
Bond traders also kept an eye on continuing trade negotiations.
Officials from the U.S. and Canada worked late into the night on Wednesday, as both sides sought to secure a new trade agreement to replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) pact, a deal they failed to secure by last Friday's initial deadline. These extended talks are likely to continue in the coming days, and could potentially last weeks.
Meantime, the relationship between China and the States remains tense. Markets remain in wait-and-see mode after a report from Bloomberg last week revealed that the U.S. administration was on standby to inflict additional levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as soon as this week. China's commerce ministry stated Thursday that Beijing would retaliate if Washington was to inflict new tariffs, Reuters reported.