* Two-year yield above 0.50 percent, 1st time since June
* U.S. services sector growth strongest in almost 8
* ADP jobs data raise doubts over a robust payrolls report
* Fed buys $3.36 billion medium-term Treasuries
By Richard Leong
NEW YORK, Sept 5 Benchmark U.S. yields jumped to
near the 3 percent level on Thursday, as a stunningly strong
report on the U.S. services sector stoked a flood of selling in
a global bond market rout and reinforced the view that the
Federal Reserve might announce a reduction in its bond-purchase
stimulus in two weeks.
The report from the Institute for Supply Management, which
showed services industries in August posted their fastest growth
since December 2005, lifted benchmark yields for a fourth
straight session to 25-month highs.
"You are seeing a normalization in the economy so you should
see a normalization in rates," said Craig Elder, fixed income
strategist at Baird Private Wealth Management in Milwaukee.
Elder and other analysts expected the 10-year yield to
pierce above 3 percent if Friday's payrolls report were to show
a decent pace of job growth and support the case for
policy-makers to scale back the Fed's $85 billion monthly
purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.
However, a disappointing payroll figure and/or safehaven
bids linked to possible U.S.-led military action against Syria
could easily push the 10-year yield to 2.75 percent, they said.
The ISM services report came after yields retreated in
reaction to a private-sector report that raised doubts about the
strength in domestic job growth in Friday's payrolls data.
Traders had braced for a possibly stronger-than-forecast
private-sector hiring figure of 200,000 from payroll processor
ADP, which would have raised expectations of a robust reading in
the government's payrolls report to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT
(1230 GMT) on Friday.
Such a level of private job growth was perceived as a
slam-dunk for the U.S. central bank to dial back its third round
of quantitative easing, or QE3, in a bid to support the economy.
However, the U.S. companies that ADP tracks added 176,000
workers in August, slightly below the consensus view of 180,000
and a revised 198,000 increase in July.
"This number is not a definitive number for the Fed to
taper. This makes some people worry about tomorrow's payrolls
number, but I still think it will be a decent one," said Robbert
van Batenburg, director of market strategy at Newedge USA LLC in
Economists polled by Reuters forecast U.S. employers added
180,000 jobs in August, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged
from July at 7.4 percent, the lowest since December 2008.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last traded
down 21/32 in price, yielding 2.975 percent, up 7.8 basis points
from late on Wednesday. The 10-year yield rose to a session high
of 2.986 percent, a level not seen since July 2011.
Short- and medium-term maturities were hit hard again on
fears the Fed might raise short-term rates not too long after it
stops buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.
The two-year note yield traded above 0.50 percent
for the first time since June 2011. It last traded at 0.514
percent, up 4.4 basis points from late on Wednesday.
Trading volume was heavy with $298 billion of Treasuries
changing hands as of noon, 58 percent above its 20-day average,
according to data from ICAP, the world's largest broker of U.S.
Investors also dumped foreign bonds, sending German and
British 10-year government debt yields to their highest levels
in 1-1/2-years and since July 2011, respectively
Traders received other snapshots on U.S. labor conditions on
Thursday. The Labor Department said Americans filing for
unemployment benefits fell to 323,000 last week, matching the
level in the week of Aug. 11, which was the lowest reading since
On the other hand, planned layoffs rose in August to 50,462,
which was their highest level since February, Challenger, Gray &
On the supply front, the Fed bought $3.357 billion in
Treasuries due November 2020 to August 2023, which was part of
its planned $45 billion in government debt purchases in
The Treasury Department as expected pared its three-year
debt offering for next week by $1 billion to $31
billion, which was the smallest amount since January 2009 when
it reintroduced this maturity.
Meanwhile, it Treasury will reopen prior 10-year and 30-year
issues at $21 billion and $13 billion, respectively
. The auction sizes matched the
previous reopenings for these longer maturities in July.