First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since 2007 last week, raising expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin curbing its bond-buying program sooner rather than later. "We're probably at the point where we're likely to see some acceleration in the pace of hiring, and that's likely to reflect what we think is going to be a fairly decent growth performance in the second half of this year," said Millan Mulraine, director of U.S. rates research at TD Securities USA.

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