Updated from 2:27 p.m. ET with comments from Bank of America senior U.S. economist Michael Hanson
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve is set to finish its unprecedented economic stimulus program in October.
Minutes released for the June meeting of the Fed's policy-making arm, the Federal Open Market Committee, showed that members are seeking to end so-called quantitative easing if current economic conditions end by October 2014 with a final cut of $15 billion in its asset purchases.
"[I]t would be appropriate to complete asset purchases with a $15 billion reduction in the pace of purchases in order to avoid having the small, remaining level of purchases receive undue focus among investors," the minutes said.
The Fed currently is purchasing $15 billion a month in mortgage-backed securities and $20 billion a month in longer-term Treasuries. The central bank has been scaling back buying in each of those asset classes at a pace of $5 billion a month, which at the current rate would leave $5 billion a month of longer-term Treasuries to remain after October.
Ending the program in October would eliminate that possibility.
Fed officials said they witnessed investors as complacent on risk taking -- a suggestion that maybe investors are overly confident in improving economic data and a continuing low interest rate environment.
"They want to note that this is not a done deal, that they're not tied into a particular schedule, they're going to react to changes in their perception of the outlook, and that depends both on uncertainty on the economy, and there's some uncertainty about policy," Michael Hanson, senior U.S. economist at Bank of America, said in an interview.