TREASURIES-Yields hover near two-year highs on Fed tapering views
* Fed will buy $2.75 bln to $3.5 bln in notes due 2020-2023 * Yields edge higher as September Fed tapering seen * Payrolls data will help guide views of Fed bond buy slowdown By Luciana Lopez NEW YORK, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Yields for U.S. Treasuries traded near two-year highs on Friday, with investors reluctant to break out of recent ranges given uncertainty around when the Fed might slow its massive bond-buying program. Benchmark yields have risen to near 3 percent but have failed to break that barrier, as markets increasingly see the U.S. Federal Reserve slowing its so-called quantitative easing program as soon as September. But while policy meeting minutes released this week did little to derail views of a start date at the Fed's Sept. 17-18 meeting, that document also did little to cement such an outlook, either. "We need some sort of catalyst to really push us through higher (yields) from current levels," said Kim Rupert, managing director of fixed income analysis at Action Economics in San Francisco. The benchmark 10-year note traded up 2/32 in price on Friday to yield 2.885 percent, from 2.894 percent late on Thursday. Benchmark yields reached 2.936 percent on Thursday, marking the highest since late June 2011, according to Reuters data. The 30-year bond traded up 10/32 in price on Friday to yield 3.857 percent, from 3.876 percent late on Thursday. Without a catalyst of some sort, Rupert said, investors are largely focused on the next Fed meeting and the non-farm payrolls data for August, due for release on Sept. 6, which could help clarify what policymakers might do. The jobs data will be a key gauge of the health of the U.S. labor market. With policymakers looking for an unemployment rate closer to 6.5 percent, strong gains in jobs could help convince the Fed that the U.S. economy - the world's largest - is ready to be weaned off the bank's support. The Fed has repeatedly said any decision about tapering its $85 billion per month in purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities will be data-dependent - a view reinforced by the meeting minutes this week, some analysts said. "We view the minutes as remarkably short of details for a committee that allegedly is about to taper," wrote U.S. economist Michael S. Hanson of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "Thus, we see the Fed making a game-day decision at their next meeting in September," he added. As part of its ongoing stimulus program, the Fed will buy between $2.75 billion and $3.50 billion in notes due 2020-2023 on Friday. The Treasury's sale of $98 billion in new two-year, five-year and seven-year debt next week could add pressure to bond yields in the near term. Many investors have chosen to avoid taking new positions because of uncertainty leading into the Fed's September meeting.