What Investors Should Look for in Today's Fed Statement

In its continuing efforts to nurture the fragile economic recovery, the U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to leave interest rates at record lows when it concludes its meeting today (Wednesday).

However, observers will be closely examining the details of the language in the statement of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting for hints as to when it plans to change monetary policy.

The overwhelming consensus is that the Fed will hold the federal funds rate steady at near-zero until the second half of next year. But that assumes the economic growth will stay in line with the Fed's current forecast - a weak recovery with subdued inflation and slow growth.