WASHINGTON -- The eyes of the business world are on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues today as the central bank is expected to announce another round of economic stimulus at the conclusion of its two-day meeting.
Expectations are high on Wall Street and in Washington that the Fed will launch a new bond-buying program to try to breathe more life into the faltering economic recovery. U.S. stock futures edged down early this morning as investors began the countdown to the central bank's decision.
Here's the schedule of events, which The Times will be covering throughout the day on latimes.com.
12:30 p.m. EDT, 9:30 a.m. PDT: The Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policy-making body, releases a statement on the results of its meeting.
If the Fed announces another round of so-called quantitative easing, it also likely would give details about how much money it intends to spend on bonds and how it would spread that money among Treasury bonds, mortgage-backed securities and debt issued by government-backed agencies such as Fannie Mae.
Expect political reaction to start rolling in shortly after the announcement, particularly from Republicans. Many of them have opposed the Fed's dramatic expansion of its balance sheet over the past four years and would be particularly upset about more stimulus action in the weeks before a presidential election.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said that, if elected, he would not re-nominate Bernanke as chairman when his term ends in early 2014.
2 p.m. EDT, 11 a.m. PDT: The Fed releases its updated economic projections. They will include a range of projections and a central tendency for the nation's economic output, or gross domestic product, unemployment rate and inflation. There will be projections for 2012, 2013, 2014 and over the longer run.
In the last projections, released in June, the Fed downgraded its economic growth forecasts through 2014 and projected that unemployment could remain above 8% through next year. Another lowering of the projections is likely given recent economic data.
2:15 p.m. EDT, 11:15 a.m. PDT: Bernanke goes before the cameras for his quarterly news conference. He'll summarize the Fed's policy actions, go over the economic projections and then answer questions from journalists.
His audience is the financial markets as well as the public, so he'll try to explain what the Fed is doing and why.
The news conference will be webcast at www.federalreserve.gov.
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