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Yields ease after job openings data, Powell speech

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Updated at 2:43 p.m. ET/1843 GMT

By David Randall and Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, July 2 (Reuters) -Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields dipped on Tuesday following a closely watched reading of the jobs market and comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that monetary policy is closer to the point where interest-ratecuts are appropriate.

Powell, speaking at a monetary policy conference in Portugal sponsored by the European Central Bank, said the U.S.is back on a "disinflationary path," but policymakers need more data before cutting rates to confirm that the recent weaker inflation readings provide an accurate picture of the economy.

The resiliency of the U.S. labor market has influenced the Fed's decision to keep benchmarkinterest rates near two-decade highs in the hope of avoiding a resurgence of inflation.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, rose 221,000 to 8.140 million on the last day of May, the lowest level since February 2021 and slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. Data for April was revised down to show 7.919 million unfilled positions instead of the previously reported 8.059 million.

While market expectations of roughly 46 basis points in interest rate cuts by December seemed to hold despite the job openings data and Powell's comments,the market appeared to show relief following a selloff on Monday, said Brian Jacobsen, chief economist at Annex Wealth Management.

"Powell and the macro data has helped move yields a little bit lower, but the political side of the equation and uncertainty over the deficit under a Republican-controlled government has pushed them higher," he said.

Yields rose on Monday to their highest levels since May as investors increasingly priced in the possibility that Republican formerPresident Donald Trump will prevail in the November presidential elections.

Trump, who was widely seen as winning last week's debate against Democratic PresidentJoe Biden, was further bolstered bya U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Mondaythat he has broad immunity from prosecution, making it improbable he will be tried before the election on federal charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

"The price action has its grounding in forward inflation and issuance expectations in the event of a Trump victory in November, as well as the perceived increase in the probability of such an outcome," said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets.

The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note US10YT=RR fell 3.7 basis points to 4.442%. The yield on the 30-year bond US30YT=RR fell 2.7 basis points to 4.616%.

The two-year US2YT=RR U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, fell 3.1 basis points to 4.741%.

A closely watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve measuring the gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes US2US10=RR, seen as an indicator of economic expectations, was at a negative 30.1 basis points, after hitting a negative 27.8,near its least-inverted position since early May.

US job openings https://reut.rs/3VQDE5W

Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Barbara Lewis, Christina Fincher and Leslie Adler


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