Treasury yields fall with focus on Russia-Ukraine crisis

US Treasury yields fell Thursday, as investors monitored developments on the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gave up 7.7 basis points, falling to 1.968% at 10 am ET. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond moved 7.6 basis points lower to 2.288%. Yields move inversely to prices and 1 base point is equal to 0.01%.

Geopolitical tensions continued to be in focus for investors.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday the conflict had reached a “crucial moment.” Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of attacking a village near the border.

“The evidence on the ground is that Russia is moving toward an imminent invasion,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

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On the economic front, January’s housing starts and the weekly jobless claims data came in worse than expected, with initial claims rising to 248,000 while economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected a slight decline to 218,000. January’s building permits data did beat expectations to the upside, however.

Meanwhile, the Fed’s January meeting minutes, released Wednesday afternoon, offered insight into the central bank’s plans for tightening monetary policy.

The minutes indicated that the Fed would likely start to raise interest rates soon and outlined its plans for cutting its balance sheet.

“You get a sense of urgency that they need to get to the process of liftoff and the reductions in the balance sheet,” said Diane Swonk, chief US economist at Grant Thornton.

Swonk said the minutes, while not a surprise, reflect the more hawkish comments of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at his briefing following the last meeting. The statement the Fed released that day was more dovish.

“By June, you could easily have three-quarters of a percent [rate hike] and balance sheet reductions, “Swonk said.

CNBC’s Jesse Pound, Patti Domm, Jeff Cox and Chloe Taylor contributed to this market report.

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