July 31, 2013 at 2:08 PM ET
Steady as she goes. The Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged and keep buying $85 billion in bonds every month while the economy keeps improving at a "modest" pace, the central bank said Wednesday.
Amid a backdrop of gradually improving economic data and concerns of asset price inflation, the Fed provided no further clues after its policy meeting this week that it will be easing back the throttle on easy money.
No changes are imminent to interest rate, but the $85 billion monthly money-printing program known as quantitative easing will be trimmed back only if the data points continue to improve.
The market has been hotly anticipating the next move in Fed policy, with tapering of asset purchases likely to begin in September.
After the decision came down, stocks added to previous narrow gains while bond yields moved little.
In all, the Fed exacted few changes to the language from its last meeting, leaving open the possibility that it could add or subtract from the QE purchases depending on conditions.
What was missing from this month was the post-meeting news conference from Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The central bank chief rattled markets in May when he suggested that QE likely would end in 2014.
Markets took the statement to mean that the Fed also would begin to raise interest rates sooner than expected. A cadre of Fed officials followed that meeting with public statements aimed at quelling fears that money tightening was coming, and the massive stock market rally of 2013 resumed.
By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him @JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter.