After ending the previous session roughly flat, treasuries moved to the downside over the course of the trading day on Wednesday.
Bond prices showed a lack of direction in morning trading before sliding firmly into negative territory in the afternoon. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, rose by 2.3 basis points to 3.179 percent.
The lower close by treasuries came after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its September monetary policy meeting, which showed the central bank continues to favor a “gradual approach” to raising interest rates.
The assessment that the “gradual approach” remains appropriate comes as the meeting participants generally judged that the economy was evolving about as anticipated.
The Fed argued the “gradual approach” would balance the risk of raising rates too quickly, causing a slowdown in the economy, and raising rates too slowly, leading to inflation above the central bank’s 2 percent objective.
Looking ahead, the minutes said a few meeting participants expected rates would need to become modestly restrictive for a time.
A number of participants also determined it would be necessary to temporarily raise rates above the longer-run level in order to reduce the risk of a sustained overshooting of the Fed’s inflation target.
Meanwhile, a couple of participants indicated they would not favor adopting a restrictive policy stance in the absence of clear signs of an overheating economy and rising inflation.
During the meeting, the Fed decided to raise rates by a quarter point for a third time this year to 2 to 2.25 percent and forecast another rate hike before the end of the year. The central bank’s forecasts also pointed to three rate hikes in 2019.
The Fed’s assessment that the “gradual approach” to raising rates remains appropriate comes even as President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked the central bank for hiking rates too quickly.
Trump continued his assault on the Federal Reserve in an interview with Fox Business on Tuesday, calling the central bank the “biggest threat” to his presidency.
Traders largely shrugged off the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing a much bigger than expected pullback in housing starts in the month of September.
The Commerce Department said housing starts tumbled by 5.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.201 million in September after surging up by 7.1 percent to a revised rate of 1.268 million in August.
Economists had expected housing starts to pull back by about 3.5 percent to a rate of 1.237 million from the 1.282 million originally reported for the previous month.
The report also showed an unexpected decrease in building permits, which fell by 0.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.241 million in September after sliding by 4.1 percent to a revised 1.249 million in August.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to jump by about 4.1 percent to a rate of 1.280 million from the 1.229 million originally reported for the previous month.
Trading on Thursday may be impacted by reaction to reports on weekly jobless claims, Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity and leading economic indicators.
Bond traders are also likely to keep an eye on the Treasury Department’s announcement of the details of next week’s auctions of two-year, five-year, and seven-year notes.