TREASURIES-Treasuries steady as investors await possible taper hint from Fed meeting

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(Adds U.S. market open) By Herbert Lash NEW YORK, Sept 21 - U.S. Treasury yields were steady on Tuesday as investors took in stride an equity market sell-off and rebound, waiting for the end of this week's Federal Reserve meeting that may shed light on when its massive purchase of government debt begins to ease. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was up 0.8 basis points to 1.318% in morning trade. Stocks on Wall Street opened higher as investors put aside concerns about a potential collapse of property developer China Evergrande Group and the impact its $305 billion in obligations could cause to the Chinese economy and financial markets. Analysts played down the threat of Evergrande's troubles even as Beijing showed no signs it would intervene to stem any domino effects the company's troubles may spawn. The start of the Fed's two-day policy-setting meeting was of greater concern as analyst await any signal regarding when the U.S. central bank will begin tapering its asset purchases. "The pace of reductions dictates to some degree the timing of the first Fed rate hike," said Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Capital Management. "Markets have essentially priced in a $10 billion-a-month pace of reduction." A $5 billion-a-month reduction in bond purchase would further delay expectations of the Fed's first rate hike, while a $15 billion-a-month reduction would pull forward expectations of a first rate hike, LeBas said. A steady reduction, spread out over several quarters, would likely minimize any disruption to the financial markets. The Fed is likely to indicate the initiation of tapering in November at a rate that will be firmly set so as to eliminate purchases by mid-2022, said John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management, in a note. The Treasury plans to sell $24 billion of 20-year bonds in an auction and announce results after 1 p.m. ET (1700 GMT). A closely watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve measuring the gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes, seen as an indicator of economic expectations, was at 110.4 basis points. The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was down 0.6 basis points at 0.210%. The breakeven rate on five-year U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) was last at 2.473%. The 10-year TIPS breakeven rate was last at 2.305%, indicating the market sees inflation averaging about 2.31% a year for the next decade. September 21 Tuesday 10:07AM New York / 1407 GMT Price Current Net Yield % Change (bps) Three-month bills 0.03 0.0304 0.000 Six-month bills 0.045 0.0456 0.000 Two-year note 99-214/256 0.2098 -0.006 Three-year note 99-200/256 0.4489 -0.003 Five-year note 99-172/256 0.8179 -0.003 Seven-year note 100-22/256 1.1121 0.001 10-year note 99-100/256 1.3158 0.007 20-year bond 99-16/256 1.8063 0.013 30-year bond 103-24/256 1.8645 0.018 DOLLAR SWAP SPREADS Last (bps) Net Change (bps) U.S. 2-year dollar swap spread 11.50 0.50 U.S. 3-year dollar swap spread 12.00 0.00 U.S. 5-year dollar swap spread 10.50 0.25 U.S. 10-year dollar swap spread 2.75 -0.50 U.S. 30-year dollar swap spread -24.75 -0.75 (Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Stefano Rebaudo in London; Editing by Lisa Shumaker) 

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