Updated from 2:13 p.m. with comments from analysts and added context
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve will begin to scale back its economic stimulus program in the coming months if economic data continues to trend positively, the central bank's policy-making minutes released on Wednesday said.
Markets turned lower on the news, and closed in negative terrority, after rising most of the day. But the move may not have been about fears the Fed will taper asset purchases in December.
"Will it happen sooner rather than later? Yea, it will happen sooner," Ron Florance, deputy chief investment officer for investment strategy at Wells Fargo Private Bank, said in a phone interview, referring to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes. Florance said that the drop in markets likely was a reaction by investors to take profits off the table.
The FOMC minutes said "a number" of participants discussed adjusting the purchases of asset purchases to be equally weighted in draw downs of mortgage-backed securities and longer term Treasuries. But there were "some others" who said the central bank should trim the pace of Treasury purchases more rapidly than the mortgage-backed securities.
"Obviously, there is a range of things being discussed in the minutes with a lack of succinct decision-making," Mark Hamrick, Bankrate's Washington bureau chief, said in a phone call.
What analysts and economists agree on is that there isn't a question of if the Fed will taper, only that the market is waiting to see when the central bank will make the move.
That likely won't occur until after Fed Vice-Chair Janet Yellen likely succeeds Chairman Ben Bernanke, said Florance.
Below is the minutes for the Federal Open Market Committee's October meeting: