Treasury yields were little changed after the Federal Reserve concluded its two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday by keeping interest rates in a target range near zero, as expected.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped by less than 1 basis point to 1.229% at 4 p.m. ET. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond ticked down less than a basis point to 1.887%. Yields move inversely to prices and 1 basis point equals 0.01 percentage points.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell cautioned in a press conference that while the economy is making progress toward its goals, there's a ways to go before the central bank will adjust its easy policies.
However, the FOMC noted that the economy has made "progress" on the Fed's dual employment and inflation goals, opening the door a little further on tapering.
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"With its July 28 statement, the FOMC has started the tapering clock," said PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher. "The committee said that the economy has made progress toward its goals of full employment and inflation averaging 2% over the longer run, but not the 'substantial' further progress that it is looking for before it begins to reduce its purchases of long-term assets. The statement also said that the committee will continue to assess progress toward these goals at future meetings."
Powell reiterated that "we're on a very clear path to a strong job market," but maintained "we have some ground to cover on the labor market side."
"I think we're some way away from having had substantial further progress toward the maximum employment goal," he said. "I would want to see some strong job numbers. That's kind of the idea."
The shorter end of the curve including rates on 1-year Treasury bills were little changed after the Fed decision.
While concerns grow about the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19, Powell also said he expects the real-world effects to be milder than they were after the initial outbreak, in part due to more people receiving the vaccine.
"We've kind of learned to live with it," he said of Covid. "A lot of industries have kind-of improvised their way around it. We'd like to get back to the way things were, and I hope to some extent we will over time."
— CNBC's Patti Domm and Jesse Pound contributed to this market report.