Fed's Lacker: can't expect market to split tapering and tightening

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia (Reuters) - A senior Federal Reserve official said on Friday the central bank had confused financial markets by announcing a timetable to taper bond buying, and at the same time try to push back expectations for the lift-off date of future Fed interest rate hikes.

Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said it had been too much to ask markets to separate the two themes as investors digested news from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last week that the Fed could begin to reduce bond buying later this year.

"In hindsight, it was confusing to try and clarify understanding about asset purchases and at the same time push back (on expectations of future rate rises)," he told reporters after delivering a speech here at a judicial conference.

(Reporting By Alister Bull; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)