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Treasuries Move Sharply Higher Following Weaker Than Expected Jobs Data


After showing a lack of direction early in the session, treasuries moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Friday.

Bonds prices showed a steady advance as the day progressed, closing firmly in positive territory. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, tumbled 10.5 basis points to 1.343 percent.

The steep drop extended a recent downward trend by the ten-year yield, which ended the session at its lowest closing level in well over two months.

The rally by treasuries came following the release of a closely watched Labor Department report showing much weaker than expected U.S. job growth in the month of November.

The report said non-farm payroll employment rose by 210,000 jobs in November after surging by an upwardly revised 546,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected employment to spike by 550,000 jobs compared to the jump of 531,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the much weaker than expected job growth, the unemployment rate slid to 4.2 percent in November from 4.6 percent in October. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to edge down to 4.5 percent.

With the much bigger than expected decrease, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since hitting 3.5 percent in February of 2020.

The disappointing job growth raised some concerns about the economic outlook amid the emergence of the Omicron variant, increasing the appeal of safe havens like bonds.

However, economists do not expect the data to dissuade from the Federal Reserve from accelerating the tapering of its asset purchases.

“‘Yes’ the jobs report is strong enough for the Fed to announce a likely doubling of the pace of QE asset purchase tapering,” said Gregory Daco, Chief U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

He added, “The Fed’s pivot is aimed at providing hawkish forward guidance while clearing the runway for rate hikes anytime after March 2022.”

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showed an unexpected acceleration in the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity in the month of November.

The ISM said its services PMI rose to a record high 69.1 in November from 66.7 in October, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the sector. The increase surprised economists, who had expected the index to dip to 65.0.

News on the Omicron front may continue to impact next week’s trading, while reports on consumer prices, the U.S. trade deficit and consumer sentiment may also attract attention.

Bond traders are also likely to keep an eye on the results of the Treasury Department’s auctions of three-year and ten-year notes and thirty-year bonds.

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