The benchmark 10-year yield was down 3.9 basis points at 1.4407% in midday trading. That was close to its level before the morning release of new Labor Department data showed U.S. job growth accelerated in June.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 850,000 jobs last month after rising 583,000 in May, the Labor Department said in its closely watched employment report on Friday. The unemployment rate rose to 5.9% from 5.8% in May.
Treasury yields initially ticked up on the strong job gains, then fell back. Market analysts said the trading reflected mixed interpretations about how the Fed might incorporate the new information as it decides how to end crisis-era bond-buying.
Normally strong numbers would send yields higher, said Priya Misra, global head of rates strategy for TD Securities in New York. Of Friday’s trading, she said, “I think the market is torn between whether to price in the market outlook or the Fed reaction.”
The minutes of the Fed’s June 16-17 meeting, when officials opened debate on how to end crisis-era bond-buying and signaled interest rate increases were closer on the horizon than previously thought, are due out on Wednesday.
Tom di Galoma, managing director of Seaport Global Holdings, said he does not expect yields to move much higher until closer to the fall when schools move to reopen, bringing more teachers and other educators back to work and dropping the unemployment rate.
“I think we’re geared toward a fairly decent reopening but most of it will take place in the fall. Rates will head higher once that becomes evident,” he said.
Friday’s trading was set for an early close ahead of the long Independence Day weekend.
A closely watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve measuring the gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes, seen as an indicator of economic expectations, was at 120 basis points, less than a basis point lower than Thursday’s close.
The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was down 1.7 basis points at 0.2396%.
The yield on 30-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities was at -0.209% after reaching as low as -0.236% The 10-year TIPS yield was at -0.905% and the breakeven inflation rate was at 2.338%.