The Fed’s post-meeting statement Wednesday was as expected. Most economists figured the central bank wouldn’t announce any new initiatives to bolster growth.
More interesting commentary may come at Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s press conference, expected to begin at 11:15 a.m. PDT. It will stream live here.
The Fed’s statement said that recent data indicate that “economic growth strengthened somewhat in the third quarter, reflecting in part a reversal of the temporary factors that had weighed on growth earlier in the year,” such as the after-effects of Japan’s massive earthquake in March.
But policymakers also said there were “significant downside risks to the economic outlook, including strains in global financial markets” -- an apparent reference to Europe’s ongoing debt crisis.
The Fed took two major steps in recent months to help the economy. In August the central bank indicated that short-term interest rates were likely to remain near zero for another two years, a view it reiterated in Wednesday’s statement.
In September the Fed decided to shift more of its massive securities portfolio toward longer-term Treasury bonds to pull down long-term interest rates in general.
One Fed official -- Chicago Fed President Charles Evans -- dissented at Wednesday’s meeting, according to the statement. Evans “supported additional policy accommodation at this time,” the statement said, without indicating what kind of action he wanted.
Wall Street slipped after the Fed meeting, giving up part of an early rally that followed two days of heavy selling. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 115 points, or 1%, to 11,773 at about 10:25 a.m. PDT.
Here is the full text of the Fed statement: