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Ben Bernanke's challenge at today's press conference: Talk openly about what the Federal Reserve is up to, while delivering absolutely no real news.
Bernanke knows the Fed needs to make its case directly to the general public. And if he can use today's presser to explain Fed policy in clear, simple language, he'll help his cause.
At the same time, though, Bernanke — like all Fed chairmen — doesn't like to surprise investors, who will be parsing every word he says. The Fed typically telegraphs its policy changes months in advance, largely through carefully worded official statements.
So it's highly unlikely that Bernanke will want to say anything that investors find truly new or surprising — anything that might move markets — when he's standing in front of reporters, answering questions in a live broadcast. (Watch it online.)
We'll be live blogging the press conference, which starts at 2:15 p.m. Eastern.
Postgame update: There was a lot of Fedspeak, with some plain English mixed in. Bernanke didn't say anything that was news to investors or Fed watchers. Stocks and bonds didn't make any sharp moves in response to the speech.
Bottom line: No surprises.