WASHINGTON — With the economic situation continuing to generate mixed news, the Federal Open Market Committee agreed to hold the highly accommodative course steady for the immediate future but prepared for a new easing next year, according to the minutes of the committee's Oct. 23-24 meeting, released Wednesday.

"Members viewed the information on U.S. economic activity received over the intermeeting period as suggesting that the economy was, on balance, expanding moderately, with a pickup in household spending and further improvement in housing markets offset to some extent by a slowdown in the business sector," according to the minutes. "Inflation rose recently because of a temporary run-up in energy prices. However, longer-term inflation expectations were stable."

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