News Summary: Fed open to linking rate hike

MINUTES COUNT: Federal Reserve officials spent time at their Sept. 12-13 meetings exploring ways to provide a clearer signal on when they might raise interest rates.

STRETCH IT OUT: At the September meeting, the Fed announced that it was extending its timetable for keeping a key interest rate at a record low, close to zero, until at least mid-2015, six months later than it previously said.

MORE DISCUSSIONS: Fed officials favored linking future rate increases not to a date, but to the level of unemployment or some other numeric target. They indicated they would keep discussing the issue.