In holding steady on interest rates, the Federal Reserve came ever so close to saying that the recession is over. As noted by WSJ's Phil Izzo
August: Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June suggests that economic activity is leveling out.
June: Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in April suggests that the pace of economic contraction is slowing.
Doesn't seem like much but folks who follow this stuff say it's a big deal. The Fed also announced it would end a program to buy $300 billion worth of Treasury bonds by the end of October. This was one of the efforts to drive down interest rates. From the NYT:
At the same time, Fed officials made it clear they were not about to throttle back their biggest emergency credit programs. The central bank is barely halfway through its plan to buy $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, a program that directly affects home mortgage rates and has had a much more noticeable effect than the Treasury bond program.