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Treasuries Give Back Ground After Yesterday's Rally

After moving sharply higher over the course of the previous session, treasuries gave back some ground during trading on Thursday.

Bond prices moved to the downside early in the session and remained stuck in the red throughout the day. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, edged up by 1.4 basis points to 2.522 percent.

The modest pullback by treasuries came after bond prices rallied on Wednesday in reaction to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement.

While the Fed raised rates by a quarter point as widely expected, the central bank's projections called for only two more rate hikes this year.

The unchanged outlook for rate hikes this year offset concerns that the Fed intends to accelerate the pace of rate increases.

On the U.S. economic front, a report from the Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits saw a modest decrease in the week ended March 11th.

The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 241,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 243,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 240,000.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed a rebound in new U.S. residential construction in the month of February, although the report also showed a sharp pullback in building permits.

The report said housing starts jumped by 3.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.288 million in February after slumping by 1.9 percent to a revised 1.251 million in January.

Economists had expected housing starts to climb to a rate of 1.260 million from the 1.246 million originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report said building permits tumbled by 6.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.213 million in February after surging up by 5.3 percent to a revised 1.293 million in January.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to drop to a rate of 1.260 million from the 1.285 million originally reported for the previous month.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also released a report showing that Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity grew at a slower rate in the month of March,

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for general activity fell to 32.8 in March from 43.3 in February, although a positive reading still indicates growth. The index had been expected to drop to 30.0.

The pullback by the Philly Fed's index of regional manufacturing activity came after it jumped to its highest level in over thirty years in the previous month.

Another batch of economic data is scheduled to be released on Friday, with traders likely to keep an eye on reports on industrial production, consumer sentiment and leading economic indicators.

by RTT Staff Writer

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