Comments made by Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke are adding to the perception the Fed will step in if the economy remains weak. In a speech to college students, he noted the Fed was able to goose the economy with its purchase of $1.7 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. "Additional purchases have the ability to ease financial conditions," he said. At the Fed policy meeting last month, officials indicated they were prepared to take additional measures if the economy did not begin to grow faster.
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