federal reserve

Minutes from the central bank’s last meeting suggest Fed policymakers aren’t as eager to start raising interest rates as investors expected.

By Don Lee
April 9, 2014, 7:01 p.m.

WASHINGTON — An account of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting suggests that policymakers aren’t as eager to take away the punch bowl as the market thought.

The minutes of the March 18-19 meeting state that Fed officials worried that their individual projections for when the central bank would start raising interest rates “could be misconstrued” as indicating a shift by the Fed committee to tighter monetary policy.

The average projections released after the March meeting showed a slight move forward in the anticipated timing of a Fed rate increase, and Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen herself gave the impression in a news conference that day that a rate hike could be made by mid-2015, earlier than what the market had been expecting.

But since then, Yellen has sought to reassure investors and others that the Fed remains committed to its easy-money policy, largely because of the weak labor market. The minutes reinforced that view — and investors welcomed it.

Stocks extended a rally Wednesday afternoon after the minutes were released with the usual three-week lag.

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