Fed expected to make sixth reduction in bond purchases at this week's meeting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most analysts don't expect the Federal Reserve to make any major pronouncements or headlines when it ends a two-day meeting in Washington Wednesday.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave few hints about changes in the benchmark short-term interest rate or the Fed's enormous investment holdings when she testified to Congress this month. There will be a brief policy statement, but Yellen won't hold a news conference.

The Fed is expected to make a sixth $10 billion cut in its monthly bond purchases, which have been aimed at keeping long-term rates low.

Most analysts believe maintaining the status quo is likely because the economy needs less help now. Hiring is solid and manufacturing is strengthening. Consumers are voicing renewed confidence.

But because workers' pay remains flat and there is international uncertainty in Ukraine and the Mideast, there are potential threats. That likely means the Fed will leave its key short-term rate at a record low near zero "for a considerable time" after it ends its bond purchases.

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