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US 10-year yielding 2.685% after Fed verdict

Reuters with CNBC.com
Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 | 4:54 PM ET
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Treasury bonds extended a price rally on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its most recent policy committee meeting.

The Fed did as was expected, voting to reduce its monthly stimulus program by another $10 billion.

After the announcement, the 10-year Treasury note's yield hit a low of 2.68 percent for the first time since Nov. 26. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last up 20/32 in price to yield 2.685 percent.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who hands the central bank's reins to Vice Chair Janet Yellen on Friday, also adjourned his last policy-setting meeting without making any changes to the U.S. central bank's other main policy plank: its longer-term plan to keep interest rates low for some time to come.

An earlier version of this story appears below.

U.S. Treasury prices rose on Wednesday on expectations that a further pullback in the Federal Reserve's bond-buying would cause more pain for emerging market assets, leading investors to favor safe-haven bonds.

The impact of Turkey's interest rate hike during a midnight policy meeting to defend its battered lira currency quickly faded as traders sold riskier emerging market assets and bought Treasurys ahead of the Fed's decision, due at 2 p.m. ET.

"As they taper, they're taking away the punchbowl, and that affects risky assets," said Kathy Jones, fixed income strategist at Charles Schwab in New York. "People go to Treasurys when the world is in this sort of turmoil."

(Read more: Turkey's drastic action may not save emerging markets)

At its two-day policy meeting that began Tuesday, the Fed is considering whether to further scale back its bond-purchase program, which is aimed at holding down long-term borrowing costs to help the economy. The low interest rates have fueled demand for riskier, higher-yielding assets.

In December, the Fed reduced its monthly purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities by $10 billion to $75 billion. Some analysts expect the Fed will cut purchases by another $10 billion this week.

Treasury prices also rose despite incoming supply. The U.S. Treasury Department debuted $15 billion in two-year floating rate notes on Wednesday, and will sell $35 billion in five-year notes and $29 billion in seven-year debt on Thursday.

While the Fed is expected to further trim its monthly asset purchases, expectations that the Fed will keep short-term interest rates low also reinforced the gains in Treasurys.

(Read more: In calmer waters, Bernanke hands Fed to Yellen)

"Since data has been weaker than expected, the Fed will remain dovish and keep the Fed funds rate low, which has supported Treasury prices today," said Tanweer Akram, senior economist at ING U.S. Investment Management in Atlanta.

The Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods fell by 4.3 percent in December.

The Fed has kept the Federal funds rate, its benchmark short-term borrowing rate, at 0 to 0.25 percent since late 2008 to help the economy recover from recession, and it has promised to keep it there for a while longer, probably until 2015.

On Wall Street, the three major stock indexes dipped, with the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 stock index falling 0.38 percent.

—By Reuters with CNBC.com

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