U.S. government debt yields rose Thursday amid reports the U.S. and China have begun outlining a deal to end their protracted trade war.
The 10-year Treasury yield has been locked in a range between 2.6 percent and 2.8 percent for the majority of 2019 as downturns in global growth and inflation expectations have reined in market bulls and fostered demand for government debt. Important to the muted global outlook is ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, which have pitted the world's two largest economies against each other through tariffs and other barbs.
That sentiment appeared to ebb Thursday amid reports that Washington and Beijing have begun drawing up memorandums of understanding over trade. Officials from both countries met for talks this week and higher-level discussions are set to be held on Thursday and Friday.
The U.S. and China are trying to resolve their differences over trade ahead of an early March deadline. However, speculation has risen that there may be an extension to that target, after President Donald Trump said it was not a "magical date."
The Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes, which were released on Wednesday, revealed that policymakers judged that a "patient" approach to interest rate hikes is the best path forward.
"Almost all participants thought that it would be desirable to announce before too long a plan to stop reducing the Federal Reserve's asset holdings later this year," the meeting minutes said. "Such an announcement would provide more certainty about the process for completing the normalization of the size of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet."
The minutes also showed that Fed members considered soft inflation numbers, the government shutdown and the path of fiscal policy. Officials also weighed the impact that Fed policy tightening moves as well as the ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China would have on the economy.
"I think the message from my point of view is the normalization process in the United States is coming to an end," St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said during a CNBC "Squawk Box" interview on Thursday. "I thought at the December meeting, myself I thought it was a step too far. I argued against that move."
IHS Markit said its U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 53.7 in February, a 17-month low, from 54.9 last month. The print missed analyst expectations as polled by Refinitiv. IHS Markit said in a release that survey respondents cited "a soft patch for client demand, partly linked to uncertainty across manufacturing supply chains and concerns about the global trade outlook."
New orders for key American capital goods also surprised economists with a drop in December amid declining demand for machinery and primary metals.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday orders for non-defense capital goods barring aircraft dropped 0.7 percent. Data for November was revised down to show these so-called core capital goods orders falling 1.0 percent instead of declining 0.6 percent as previously reported. Durable goods orders for December, meanwhile, rose 1.2 percent, the department said.
—CNBC's Ryan Browne and Spriha Srivastava contributed to this report.