There's little drama about what the Federal Reserve will say on Wednesday: It's going to keep buying bonds in its effort to stimulate the economy. But what will the central bank be saying by what it doesn't say?
Statements by some voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee in favor of an economic target for ending extraordinary stimulus won't transform those monetary cluster munitions into sniper rifles. But at least they would give the market a better idea of when the all-clear may sound.
Any decision on specific targets that would bring to an end the Fed's extraordinary actions probably won't be made during this week's two-day meeting, though. Getting Fed members to agree on specific targets such as a level of unemployment may take until early 2013, says Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management.
"It's a process," said Mr. Lascelles. "It's a bit like herding cats."