published Friday, September 7th, 2012

How big will Fed go after weak August jobs report?

  • photo
    In this Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, file photo, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks to educators in the board room of the Federal Reserve in Washington.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON — Will the Federal Reserve go big next week?

Some economists expect a new bond-buying program to be announced.

Others aren’t so sure. Most do think the Fed will unveil something, after Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the Fed will do more to help the economy.

But they don’t see a bold move. Not yet, anyway.

Sal Guatieri of BMO Capital Markets thinks the most likely Fed step will be to extend its timetable for keeping short-term rates at record lows. Currently, the Fed plans to keep rates there until at least late 2014. Guatieri said he thinks that target will be extended to mid-2015.

But by late December or early next year, Guatieri says the Fed could begin more bond buying, perhaps focused on lowering mortgage rates.

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