(RTTNews) - After seeing initial strength, treasuries gave back ground over the course of the trading session on Thursday before ending the day little changed.
Bond prices pulled back well off their best levels of the day and eventually closed only slightly higher. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, edged down by less than a basis point to 0.627 percent.
Treasuries initially moved higher in reaction to a report from the Labor Department showing another spike in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 28th.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims skyrocketed to 6.648 million, an increase of 3.341 million from the previous week's revised level of 3.307 million. In the previous week, jobless claims shot up by 3.025 million.
With another record-breaking increase, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims reached the highest level in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.
In the past two weeks, nearly 10 million people have filed for unemployment, which economists say translates to an unemployment rate of about 10 percent.
The appeal of bonds waned over the course of the session, however, as the price of crude oil skyrocketed on the day.
Crude for May delivery soared $5.01 to $25.32 a barrel, soaring by 24.7 percent for the biggest one-day percentage gain on record.
The jump in oil prices came after President Donald Trump expressed confidence that Saudi Arabia and Russia would resolve their price war within a "few days."
Trump also indicated he has invited oil executives to the White House to discuss ways to help the industry, saying, "We don't want to lose our great oil companies."
In a post on Twitter this morning, Trump said he spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to agree to cut oil production by at least 10 million barrels per day.
The Labor Department is scheduled to release its usually closely watched monthly employment report on Friday, although the data may be seen as old news as the employment survey was conducted three weeks ago.
"The way the survey works, a person counts as employed if they were working when contacted by the BLS, even if they lost their job later in the month," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial explained.
Economists currently expect the report to show employment fell by 100,000 jobs in March after jumping by 273,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to climb to 3.8 percent from 3.5 percent.
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