Wall Street Journal: Fed moving closer to action on economy

Move comes after CBO warns of fiscal cliff

The Federal Reserve sent its strongest signal yet that it is preparing new steps to bolster the economic recovery, saying measures would be needed fairly soon unless growth substantially and convincingly picks up.

Minutes released Wednesday from the Fed's July 31-Aug. 1 policy meeting suggested that a new round of bond buying, known as quantitative easing, was high on its list of options.

Some sectors of the economy—including business hiring and retail sales—have shown gains since the Fed meeting, which had stirred doubt in financial markets about whether the central bank would proceed. But the Fed minutes left little doubt that a clear consensus was building at the meeting for a move that is bound to be controversial, coming in the midst of the presidential campaign.

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