The Federal Reserve appears to be moving toward announcing some new step to try to energize the troubled U.S. economy. The question is whether it will do so after its policy meeting this week.
Many economists say the action may not be coming until later.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the Fed is prepared to take further action if unemployment stays high.
What that action might be isn't clear. The Fed has already pursued two rounds of purchases of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities to cut long-term interest rates and encourage borrowing and spending. These programs are called quantitative easing.
The Fed has also extended a program called Operation Twist. Under this program, the Fed sells short-term Treasurys and buys longer-term Treasurys.
The Fed meeting is one of three big events this week that investors and economists will pay close attention to. The European Central Bank meets on Thursday, and the U.S. Labor Department releases the July jobs report on Friday. (AP)