TREASURIES-Treasuries fall as jobless data better than expected
* ECB stays put on rates, avoids dramatic action
* Bank of England holds back on more stimulus
* U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly fall
NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - Prices for U.S. Treasuries slid on Thursday as a second straight day of better-than-expected labor market data boosted hopes the world's largest economy was building momentum. The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, suggesting a pick-up in the labor market recovery. "What's likely to drive the market today is definitely the initial claims," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. Llc in New York. "It's certainly welcoming to the market and it's once again supporting the thought that the economic recovery is strengthening despite the stalemate in budget talks, etc," he added. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes slid 8/32 in price to yield 1.967 percent, from 1.9427 percent on Wednesday. Prices for 30-year bonds fell 15/32 to yield 3.178 percent, from 3.1557 percent late Wednesday.
The jobless claims data came a day after a report by a payrolls processor showed a larger-than-expected 198,000 jobs added by U.S. private employers in February. The combination of Wednesday's and Thursday's data could raise hopes for the Labor Department's monthly nonfarm payrolls figures on Friday. That report is particularly important because the Fed wants to see an unemployment rate around 6.5 percent - still a good way from the current 7.9 percent. Analysts in a Reuters poll, however, see the jobless rate unchanged last month. The Fed's support has helped fuel global appetite for riskier assets, with the bank buying $85 billion per month of mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries through the year. Other central banks on Thursday proved cautious about changing their policy stance. The European Central Bank kept interest rates steady on Thursday and avoided dramatic action to help Italy or other euro zone countries, despite the threat of political turmoil in Rome reigniting the bloc's debt crisis. ECB chief Mario Draghi said price risks were "broadly balanced" and noted risks of weaker growth. Those comments helped offset the selling of Treasuries, said Ian Lyngen, a senior government bond strategist with CRT Capital Group Llc in Stamford, Connecticut. In addition, the Bank of England decided not to restart its main stimulus program for Britain's ailing economy as the government stuck to its deficit-cutting pledge and said the BoE should support growth.