The Federal Reserve released the minutes from its March 16th meeting today. As in January, Fed economists continued to see signs of economic improvement, but have no intention of raising interest rates anytime soon. Also the same as in January was Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig's dissent regarding the usage of the "extended period of time" language for how long rates would be kept exceptionally low. Hoenig is just one voice on the committee, but the March minutes may indicate that investors took his dissent very seriously.
The Staff Review of the Financial Situation from the minutes says:
The decision by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the January meeting to keep the target range for the federal funds rate unchanged and to retain the "extended period" language in the statement was widely anticipated by market participants. However, investors reportedly read the statement's characterization of the economic outlook as somewhat more upbeat than they had anticipated, and Eurodollar futures rates rose a bit in response.
It's no secret that investors hang on the Fed's every word. But if you compare the January and December economic outlook sections, it's very hard to see how investors saw a significant, unanticipated difference. Here are the changes in the economic outlook sections from December to January tracked (click on it for a bigger image):