Bond prices mixed after Fed cuts economic forecast

AP News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2011 5:22 PM
Bond prices mixed after Fed cuts economic forecast

Government bond prices turned mixed Wednesday after the Federal Reserve cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth.

The central bank expects the economy to grow between 2.7 percent and 2.9 percent this year. That's down from its earlier estimate of 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent growth. The revision reflects a slowdown in the economy that has been caused, in part, by higher gas prices and lingering effects of the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking at a news conference after the Fed's two-day policy meeting, said the slowdown would only be temporary.

The Fed kept interest rates unchanged and said it would complete its $600 billion bond-buying program at the end of this month as planned.

Bond markets were little changed after Bernanke's speech. That may have reflected some uncertainty about the Fed's economic outlook and the direction of the economy, said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Capital Markets.

"The Fed has been reduced to the level of mere mortal in their ability to forecast economic activity," LeBas said. "There was confusion evident in the markets and in the Fed's statement."

The price of the 10-year Treasury note fell 3.1 cents for every $100 invested. The yield was unchanged at 2.98 percent from late Tuesday.

The price of the 30-year bond rose 3.1 cents. Its yield remained unchanged at 4.22 percent from late Tuesday.

The yield on the 2-year bond edged up to 0.38 percent from 0.37 percent.

The three-month Treasury bill paid a yield of 0.01 percent, at a discount of 0.01 percent.