â¿¿ Nov. 14, 2012: The Fed signals that it may be preparing to take further steps to stimulate an economy that remains too weak to reduce high unemployment. The minutes of its October policy meeting suggest it might unveil a bond buying program to replace one that expires at year's end.

â¿¿ Dec. 12, 2012: The central bank says it plans to keep its key short-term rate near zero at least until unemployment drops below 6.5 percent â¿¿ as long as expected inflation is tame. For the first time, the Fed makes clear that it will link its actions to specific economic targets.

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