Dip in jobless claims knocks Treasurys down

Treasury prices fell Thursday after the government reported that fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims for unemployment benefits dipped below 400,000 last week for the first time in four months. That gave investors more confidence to buy riskier assets like stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 423.37 points, or 3.9 percent, to close at 11,143.31.

In afternoon trading, the 10-year Treasury fell $1.75 for every $100 invested. The drop in price raised the yield to 2.34 percent, up from 2.11 percent late Wednesday.

Sharp movements in the Treasury market helped make for a messy government bond auction Thursday. The Treasury sold $16 billion in 30-year Treasurys at a 3.75 percent yield. Investors placed bids for 2.08 times the amount up for sale, the weakest show of demand since February 2009. Joe Balestrino, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors Inc., called the auction "horrendous."

But it's also the lowest borrowing rate for a 30-year auction since March 2009.

The drop in price raised the yield to 3.77 percent, up from 3.50 percent late Wednesday.

The three-month Treasury bill paid a 0.01 percent yield. Its discount was 0.01 percent.