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After ending the previous session modestly lower, treasuries showed a notable move back to the upside during trading on Thursday.

Bond prices climbed moved higher in morning trading and remained firmly positive throughout the afternoon. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, slid by 4.5 basis points to 1.525 percent.

The strength among treasuries came as traders continued to keep a close eye on developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

While China reported just 394 new confirmed cases on Wednesday compared to 1,749 cases a day earlier, South Korea reported 31 new cases of the coronavirus.

The jump in confirmed cases in South Korea combined with news of the deaths of two passengers aboard a cruise ship docked in Japan led to renewed concerns about the spread of the disease.

Treasuries also benefited from a late morning pullback by stocks, although most traders seemed uncertainty about the reason for the sell-off.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Labor Department showed a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended February 15th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims crept up to 210,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level of 206,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 210,000 from the 205,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve released a report unexpectedly showing another substantial acceleration in the pace of growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity in the month of February.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity skyrocketed to 36.7 in January after spiking to 17.0 in January, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity.

The continued increase by the Philly Fed Index came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the index to dip to 12.0. With the unexpected jump, the Philly Fed Index reached its highest reading since February of 2017.

The Conference Board also released a report showing a much bigger than expected increase by its reading on leading economic indicators.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.8 percent in January after falling by 0.3 percent in December. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.3 percent.

A report on existing home sales may attract some attention on Friday but is likely to be overshadowed by any news on the coronavirus front.