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Interest rates are mixed in Treasury auction

WASHINGTON -- Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were mixed in yesterday's auction, with three-month bills rising to the highest level in five years while the rate on six-month bills edged down.

The Treasury Department auctioned $20 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.545 percent, up from 4.510 percent last week. Another $17 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.610 percent, down from 4.645 percent.

The three-month rate was the highest since these bills averaged 4.700 percent on March 5, 2001. The six-month rate was the lowest since they averaged 4.600 percent two weeks ago.

The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,885.11 while a six-month bill sold for $9,766.94.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, dipped slightly to 4.76 percent last week from 4.77 percent the previous week.

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