Extending the downward trend seen over the past several sessions, treasuries came under pressure over the course of the trading day on Thursday.
Bond prices moved to the downside in morning trading and remained firmly negative throughout the afternoon. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, rose by 3.2 basis points to 0.848 percent.
With the increase on the day, the ten-year yield closed higher for the sixth straight session, reaching its highest closing level in well over four months.
The continued weakness among treasuries came as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Democrats and the White House continue to make progress toward an agreement on a new stimulus bill.
Pelosi told reporters the two sides are “just about there” on certain provisions but noted they have not agreed on issues such as state and local aid.
While Pelosi acknowledged it will “take a while to write the bill,” she said she believes “both sides want to reach an agreement.”
The latest comments from Pelosi came after her deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill revealed the Speaker spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin again on Wednesday, saying the conversation brought the two sides closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation.
“With the exchange of legislative language, we are better prepared to reach compromise on several priorities,” Hammill said in a post on Twitter.
He added, “Differences continue to be narrowed on health priorities, including language providing a national strategic testing and contract tracing plan, but more work needs to be done to ensure that schools are the safest places in America for children to learn.”
Meanwhile, a tweet from President Donald Trump has also led to some uncertainty about whether an agreement will ultimately be reached.
“Just don’t see any way Nancy Pelosi and Cryin’ Chuck Schumer will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on Stimulus,” Trump tweeted.
“Their primary focus is BAILING OUT poorly run (and high crime) Democrat cities and states,” he added. “Should take care of our people. It wasn’t their fault that the Plague came in from China!”
Upbeat U.S. economic data also reduced the appeal of safe havens like bonds, with a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims came in well below economist estimates in the week ended October 17th.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to 787,000, a decrease of 55,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 842,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 860,000 from the 898,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Along with the notable downward revision to the previous week’s number, the report showed initial jobless claims in the week ended October 3rd were downwardly revised to 767,000 from 845,000.
The Labor Department noted the latest release reflects actual counts for California, which has completed its pause in processing of initial claims and resumed reporting actual unemployment insurance claims data.
A separate report from the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales spiked by much more than anticipated in the month of September.
NAR said existing home sales soared by 9.4 percent to an annual rate of 6.54 million in September after jumping by 2 percent to a revised rate of 5.98 million in August.
Economists had expected existing home sales to surge up by 5.0 percent to a rate of 6.30 million from the 6.00 million originally reported for the previous month.
Amid a quiet day on the U.S. economic front, the latest developments in Washington are likely to remain in the spotlight on Friday.
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