TREASURIES-Prices drop after rally on Cyprus; Fed stands pat
* Fed holds aggressive stimulus in place * Prices fall as investors ponder extent of recent rally * Cyprus now seeking a new loan from Russia By Luciana Lopez NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Prices for U.S. Treasuries fell on Wednesday, with investors weighing the extent of a rally sparked this week by a proposed Cypriot bank tax and the Federal Reserve holding firm on its aggressive stimulus plan. The Fed will keep buying $85 billion in mortgage and Treasury bonds until the employment outlook picks up markedly, the U.S. central bank said in a statement. But the bank nonetheless removed a key section of its policy statement indicating financial conditions had eased, just days after the European bailout plans for Cyprus roiled global markets. "Any concerns that the Fed was going to get more hawkish don't appear to have panned out," said John Canavan, fixed-income analyst at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton, New Jersey. "They offered improved projections for the economy and the unemployment rate over the next couple of years, but that's not a surprise." Prices pared losses slightly on the news but remained lower on the day. The benchmark 10-year note was trading down 11/32 in price to yield 1.941 after the statement. Prices for the 30-year bond briefly spiked even lower after the news but then pared losses. Those bonds were last down 26/32 in price to yield 3.174 percent. Prices for U.S. Treasuries gained this week after fears that a tax on bank deposits to help fund a bailout for Cyprus could be adopted elsewhere in the euro zone, including Italy and Spain. Cypriot lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected the deeply unpopular tax on Tuesday, and the island nation is now pleading for a new loan from Russia to avert a financial meltdown.
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