By Sam Goldfarb
U.S. government bonds bounced between gains and losses Wednesday as investors prepared for an auction of 10-year Treasury notes.
In recent trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 2.314%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.309% Tuesday.
Yields, which fall when bond prices rise, have declined for four consecutive sessions, reflecting a variety of factors, including signs that the Treasury Department won't sell as much long-term debt as some investors had expected as the Federal Reserve starts to scale back its bond-purchases.
Investors have also grown more skeptical about the chances of Congress passing tax cuts. That has helped boost Treasurys, as tax cuts could prompt more bond issuance and inflation -- both negatives for long-term Treasury debt.
Demand for bonds this week has overcome the typical pressure that comes when the government sells new debt. On tap Wednesday is a $23 billion auction of 10-year notes. That follows a $24 billion sale of three-year notes Tuesday and precedes a $15 billion auction of 30-year bonds Thursday.
The 10-year and 30-year debt auctions could "be interesting given the fact that we've had this rally on the long-end of the curve," said Larry Milstein, head of government and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co.
Yields frequently creep higher heading into auctions, helping boost demand for the new debt, but that has yet to happen in this case, Mr. Milstein said.
Volatility in the bond market could be limited this week by a dearth of economic data.
Jobs data released Friday continued to show muted inflation pressures, as average hourly earnings for workers slipped from the previous month. Consumer-price index data and retail sales numbers are scheduled to be released on Nov. 15, marking the next major events on the economic calendar.
Write to Sam Goldfarb at [email protected]