First off, congrats to JPM’s Michael Feroli for the best “Taper” related pun out there. The title of his note to clients is “Headlines Committee Sets Taperless Bar.”
In his note, he asks the question: When will the paring back of Fed mortgage purchases begin?
He nicely boils down what the Fed is looking for:
…in his prepared remarks Bernanke pointed to three factors staying the Committee’s hand from tapering today: first, a desire to see more data (presumably labour market data) before feeling comfortable with the outlook, second, a desire to assess the degree to which tighter financial conditions — particularly mortgage rates — are affecting the real economy, and third, a desire to gain some clarity on “upcoming fiscal debates.” Realistically, by the time of the October meeting the Fed will only have, at best, more visibility on the last of these three issues. Thus we see December as the more likely time of the first taper. We should mention that there is no guarantee that housing and the labour market will look better by December. In which case to get out of the “QE infinity” box the Fed may have to resurrect issues relating to the costs and efficacy of asset purchases.