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Treasurys Come Off Lows Following Auction

SARA LEPRO

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Interest rates rose Monday, but were down from their highest levels following a decent auction of two-year notes.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is used as a benchmark for interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, rose to 3.85 percent from 3.80 percent Thursday. The bond market was closed Friday for Christmas.

In late trading, the price of the 10-year note fell 11/32 to 96 4/32. Meanwhile, the yield on previously issued two-year note rose to 1.05 percent from 0.97 percent Thursday, while its price fell 5/32 to 99 14/32.

Trading was light as many investors were on vacation. The bond markets were closed for Christmas and will shut again on Friday for New Year's Day.

With fewer traders in the market, the Treasury Department was forced to raise its yield on the offering of two-year notes to entice buyers. The government sold $44 billion of the notes at a 1.089 percent yield.

The bid-to-cover ratio, a measure of demand was 2.91, slightly below a recent average of about 3.00. But the number of direct bidders, or investors who buy directly from the Treasury and not through a broker-dealer, was high. This was an encouraging sign, said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist at CRT Capital Group.

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