Fed to buy more bonds as it sets jobless target (by Steve Goldstein)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced a fresh bond-buying program worth $45 billion per month of longer-term Treasurys in another effort to reduce what the central bank calls an "elevated" unemployment rate. What's also new is the guidance for how long interest rates will be kept exceptionally low, which instead of "mid-2015" now is targeted to an unemployment rate above 6.5% as long as inflation one to two years ahead is projected to be no more than 2.5%. The size and composition of the new bond purchases were in line with market consensus; the rate guidance was discussed but not expected. The purchases replace an expiring program, popularly dubbed Operation Twist, in which the central bank swapped short-term government debt for longer maturities. The Fed also kept its existing program to buy $40 billion a month in mortgage-backed securities, and it maintained its targeted Fed funds rate between 0% and 0.25%, as it has since December 2008. The vote was 11-to-1, with Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker disapproving both the asset purchase program and the forecast for lower rates.