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Treasuries Close Roughly Flat For Second Straight Day

Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, treasuries continued to show a lack of direction during trading on Wednesday.

Bond prices bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing roughly flat for the second straight day. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, inched up by less than a basis point to 2.883 percent.

Treasuries did not show much reaction to the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which reinforced expectations the central bank will raise interest rates at its monetary policy meeting later this month.

The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, said economic activity expanded at a modest to moderate pace in January and February.

The Fed noted wage growth picked up to a moderate pace, with employers raising wages and expanding benefit packages in response to tight labor market conditions.

"Across the country, contacts observed persistent labor market tightness and brisk demand for qualified workers, as well as increased activity at staffing placement services," the Fed said.

The central bank added, "Several Districts reported continued worker shortages across most sectors, with contacts often mentioning shortages in the construction, information technology, and manufacturing sectors."

With regard to overall inflation, the Fed said price increases were seen in all twelve districts and most reports noted moderate inflation.

Traders were also digesting news of the resignation of White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn on Tuesday.

The resignation by Cohn, a free trade advocate, came after President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In a statement, Trump said Cohn did a "superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again."

Trump said in a post on Twitter that he would make a decision on a new chief economic advisor "soon," adding, "Many people wanting the job - will choose wisely!"

In U.S. economic news, payroll processor ADP released a report showing private sector employment increased by more than expected in the month of February.

ADP said employment in the private sector jumped by 235,000 jobs in February after surging up by a revised 244,000 jobs in January.

Economists had expected an increase of about 195,000 jobs compared to the addition of 234,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed the trade deficit widened by more than expected in the month of January.

The report said the trade deficit widened to $56.6 billion in January from $53.9 billion in December, reaching its highest level since October of 2008. The deficit had been expected to widen to $55.1 billion.

The Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report may attract attention on Thursday, although trading activity is likely to be somewhat subdued ahead of the release of the monthly jobs report on Friday.

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