Put me on record as saying that the Federal Reserve is making a bad mistake if Treasury ten-year bond yields rise far above 3% while the unemployment rate is still rising.
Fed’s Not Targeting Long Bond Rates: Bond investors have spent a lot of time in recent weeks wondering whether the Federal Reserve would increase its purchases of long term Treasurys now that yields on 10 year notes have pushed up beyond 3%. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered some insight into his thinking on the issue at a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee.
The move above 3% isn’t fundamentally important, he suggested. “We are not targeting a particular interest rate” with the long term Treasury note purchase program, he said. That’s not to say the Fed won’t decide later to buy more Treasury bonds than already announced. Mr. Bernanke said he believed the program was helping to bring down private sector interest rates, many of which are benchmarked off of Treasury bonds. But it does suggest bond investors shouldn’t be so hung up on the 3% rate.