STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Dennis Lockhart said Wednesday he remains "comfortable" with the Federal Open Market Committee's expectation that the federal funds rate will need to stay near zero "at least through late 2014," but said he is "reticent" about a third round of large-scale asset purchases unless the economy weakens.

Lockhart, a voting member of the policymaking FOMC, didn't rule out the use of "sterilized quantitative easing" after the conclusion of the "maturity extension program" or "Operation Twist" at the end of June. But he poured cold water on the idea, indicating that there had been no serious discussion of it by the FOMC.

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