This question comes up occasionally on the Muvipix forum site. Nice observation!
Essentially, it's a non-functioning tool in Premiere Elements, left over from its evolution from the Premiere Pro interface.
I forget what it does in Premiere Pro. But if you'll post your question to the Premiere Pro forum at http://muvipix.com/phpBB3/ , I'm sure you'll get an immediate answer.
Man quick service here!
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An old answer from Robert:
"That bar is the In/Out bar. I never could find any documentation on that.
When the properties panel has the focus, you can press "I" to set the in point and "O" to set the out point. Of course before
doing that you position the CTI on the timeline. Then you click somewhere on the properties panel to give the properties panel
the focus. It's really strange that the properties panel has to have the focus since it's the timeline that has that bar. There
is a key to clear the bar, but I forget what it is. You'll have to look in Keyboard Customizations under the Edit menu. There are
also keys you can use to play the timeline from the In point to the Out point and other things. Don't confuse with the WAB."
Thanks for that clarification Paul