The Federal Reserve stopped short of offering new monetary stimulus on Wednesday even as it signaled more strongly that further bond buying could be in store to help a US economic recovery that it said had lost momentum this year.
Fed officials described the economy as having "decelerated somewhat," a change of tone from its previous assessment in June when it said the economy had been "expanding moderately."
Policymakers also reiterated their disappointment with the slow pace of progress in bringing down the 8.2% jobless rate.
The central bank dashed expectations among some investors by taking no new measures, sending US stocks lower and the dollar higher against the euro and the yen.
The Fed nevertheless said it was prepared to do more to support an ailing economy.