Traders anxiously await outcome of Fed meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Traders are anxiously awaiting the results later today of a meeting of the Federal Reserve in Washington, where officials have been weighing whether it's time to change monetary policy.

The conclusion of two days of discussions comes at a time when there's evidence the global economy has stumbled and financial markets have endured some stomach-churning moments.

The Fed is expected to announce the end of its monthly bond buying program. It's also expected to signal that it remains in no hurry to raise its key short-term interest rate.

The discussions will wrap up with a statement on the Fed's decisions in early afternoon. This month's events will not include a news conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, whose next session with reporters will be in December. That's one reason most economists don't think the Fed will announce any major policy shifts until its next meeting, when Yellen would be able to explain any changes.

The U.S. economy has been strengthening, thanks to solid consumer and business spending, manufacturing growth and a surge in hiring that's reduced the unemployment rate to a six-year low of 5.9 percent. Still, the housing industry is struggling, and global weakness poses a potential threat to U.S. growth.

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