The Federal Reserve on Wednesday held benchmark interest rates near zero but indicated that rate hikes could be coming sooner than expected, and it significantly cut its economic outlook for this year.
Along with those largely expected moves, officials on the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee indicated they will start pulling back on some of the stimulus the central bank has been providing during the financial crisis. There was no sign, though, as to when that might happen.
"If progress continues broadly as expected, the Committee judges that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted," the FOMC's post-meeting statement said. Respondents to a recent CNBC survey said they expect tapering of bond purchases to be announced in November and begin in December.