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Treasuries Show Notable Move To The Downside In Afternoon Trading

After showing a lack of direction in morning trading on Thursday, treasuries showed a notable move to the downside over the course of the afternoon.

Bond prices slid firmly into negative territory after moving notably higher over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 4.6 basis points to 2.376 percent.

The pull back by treasuries may have reflected optimism about lawmakers passing a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

With a Friday deadline looming, the House is expected to vote later in the day on a "continuing resolution" that funds the government until December 22nd.

The two-week extension would provide lawmakers with additional time to negotiate a longer-term government spending bill.

Meanwhile, traders continued to express some uncertainty about the details of the final Republican tax reform bill.

The Senate voted 51 to 47 on Wednesday in favor of a motion to go to a conference committee with the House. The vote came down strictly along party lines.

Senate and House lawmakers will need to reach an agreement addressing significant differences between their two bills.

In economic news, the Labor Department released a report unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 2nd.

The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 236,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 238,000. The drop surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 240,000.

Trading on Friday is likely to be impacted by reaction to the Labor Department's closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of November.

Employment is expected to increase by 200,000 jobs in November after surging up by 261,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.1 percent.

The monthly employment report is likely to overshadow separate reports on consumer sentiment and wholesale inventories.

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