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Treasuries Show A Lack Of Direction Before Closing Lower

Treasuries showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Wednesday before finishing the session in negative territory.

Bond prices moved to the downside going into the close after spending the session bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 4.2 basis points to 0.858 percent.

The lower close by treasuries came as stocks on Wall Street extended yesterday's massive rally amid news Senate leaders and the White House have reached an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., announced the agreement very early this morning, saying he expects the legislation to pass later today.

McConnell described the bill as a "war-time level of investment" in the country, providing financial assistance to individuals and companies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican leader's Democratic counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also praised the bill, which he said would provide "unemployment compensation on steroids."

Schumer also claimed the final bill would provide increased oversight of a proposed $500 billion corporate bailout fund, which had been a key sticking point among Democrats.

The Senate could pass the bill as soon as today, although the stimulus package would still need to be approved by the Democrat-controlled House before heading to President Donald Trump's desk.

On the U.S. economic front, a report released by the Commerce Department showed an unexpected increase in new orders for U.S. durable goods in the month of February.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders jumped by 1.2 percent in February after a revised uptick 0.1 percent in January.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to decrease by about 0.8 percent compared to the 0.2 percent dip that had been reported for the previous month.

The unexpected increase in durable goods orders was largely due to a substantial rebounded in orders for transportation equipment, which spiked by 4.6 percent in February after falling by 0.9 percent in January.

However, excluding the jump in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders fell by 0.6 percent in February after climbing by 0.6 percent in January. Economists had expected a 0.4 percent drop.

"The rise in durable goods orders in February reflected a surge in transport orders, with underlying capital goods orders and shipments falling back," said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, "That suggests business equipment investment was on track to broadly stagnate in the first quarter, even before the virus crushed domestic demand."

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department revealed that its auction of $41 billion worth of five-year notes attracted above average demand.

The five-year note auction drew a high yield of 0.535 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.53, while the ten previous five-year note auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.40.

The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

Looking ahead, the Treasury is due to announce the results of its auction of $32 billion worth of seven-year notes on Thursday.

A report on weekly jobless claims is also scheduled to be released on Thursday and may attract some attention as it will be among the first data points to reflect the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

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