U.S. Treasury yields were steady on Thursday, amid continued fears around the omicron Covid-19 variant.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked 1 basis point higher to 1.448% at around 4:00 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond moved 1 basis point lower, slipping to 1.77%. Yields move inversely to prices.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Wednesday that the omicron variant had made its way into the U.S., with the first confirmed case found in California. A second case was reported in Minnesota on Thursday.
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that 23 countries had identified cases of the highly mutated omicron variant. That number is expected to grow.
Investors are also preoccupied by the possibility of the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchasing program at a faster-than-expected pace.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell told U.S. House members on Wednesday that the "economy is very strong and inflationary pressures are higher, and it is therefore appropriate in my view to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases, which we actually announced at the November meeting, perhaps a few months sooner."
Cole Smead, president and portfolio manager at Smead Capital Management, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Thursday that this more hawkish tone on monetary policy represented a "mea culpa."
"What Jay Powell is saying is 'I was wrong," he said, adding that it is not yet fully understood what this change in tone means for Fed policy and the value of assets.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose last week but held at levels consistent with how the job market looked before the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the U.S. jobs picture, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
First-time filings for the week ended Nov. 27 totaled 222,000, less than the 240,000 Wall Street expected. That was higher than the 194,000 from the previous week, but that total, the lowest since 1969, was revised even lower from the initial 199,000 reported.
Auctions are slated to be held on Thursday for $10 billion of 4-week bills and $25 billion of 8-week bills.