Global investors are on hold, waiting for comments from the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee on when the central bank will wind down its monthly $85 billion purchases of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke roiled markets earlier this month when he suggested that a tightening of current monetary policies could start before the end of the year. The Fed has also kept short-term interest rates near zero to buoy the economic recovery and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) officials are unlikely to raise rates until the unemployment levels hits 6.5% (the national jobless rate was 7.6% in May).
FOMC members said they were “prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will continue to take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases as well as the extent of progress toward its economic objectives,” according to the May 1 statement.
How will Wall Street react if the Fed doesn't announce plans to taper its bond-buying program?
“It’s going to be amateur hour,” says Yahoo! Finance’s Jeff Macke in the accompanying video. “We’re going to see a lot of fluctuations.”
But Macke does not expect any major revelations to come out of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting: “The Fed won’t do a whole bunch of anything,” he argues.
The most important part of Fed’s statement may be any references to fiscal policy; the Fed said “fiscal policy is restraining economic growth," last month.
“Pay attention to these nuances,” notes Macke.
Bernanke will hold a press conference at 2pm ET after the FOMC releases its economic projections. Don’t miss Yahoo! Finance’s post-FOMC coverage: we’ll be live blogging at 2pm ET and Breakout’s Jeff Macke and Matt Nesto will give analysis on the markets and the Fed in a special event starting at 3:15pm ET on Yahoo! Finance – be sure to watch!
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