The Fed is looking more and more like it will raise its key interest rate at the regular meeting of its Open Market Committee in June, according to the minutes of the April OMC meeting, released Wednesday afternoon.
The news drove down stocks in mid-afternoon trading, at one point by more than 200 points. Treasury yields rose.
"Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee’s 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June," the minutes stated.
The federal funds rate, the Fed's chief tool in attempting to balance growth and inflation, is currently set between 0.25% and 0.50%. The committee has stated in past months that it intended to raise rates at least once more this year by a quarter point.
The decision to hold rates in April was supported by all but one member of the OMC, who was in favor of a quarter-point raise then.