Fed Sticks With Status Quo

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve once again left its interest rate target alone on Wednesday, making very few changes to its policy statement from last month.

The central bank stuck with its zero to 1/4% range for the federal funds rate and said it still believes economic conditions warrant "exceptionally low levels" for interest rates at least through late 2014.

Clues about further quantitative easing efforts from the Fed didn't materialize either as the statement simply said the central bank expects to "maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy." The Fed's current bond-buying program, Operation Twist, which involves selling medium-term bonds and buying longer-term ones, is set to expire at the end of June.

"There was no hint that the FOMC was considering extending Operation Twist or replacing it with any alternative stimulus in the second half of the year," wrote Capital Economics, in emailed commentary following the statement's release. "Overall, nothing to get too excited about."

Inflation and market gyrations abroad were addressed in the latest statement along similar lines as they were last time around.

"Strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook," read the policy statement. "The increase in oil and gasoline prices earlier this year is expected to affect inflation only temporarily."

The Fed did acknowledge that the labor market has continued to improve and that unemployment has continued to drop gradually, which it noted is consistent with its dual mandate.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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