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  • Fed Interest Rate Policy Boosts Markets - 18 September 2014
  • Major indexes on Wall Street responded positively Wednesday to indications from the Federal Reserve that it intends to keep its near-zero short-term interest rate for a while still. The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up 24.88 points (0.2 percent) at 17,156.85, being a record high for the year, while the S&P 500 climbed 2.59 points (0.1 percent) to 2,001.57, a figure just short of its September 5 high of 2,007.71. The Nasdaq composite gained 9.43 points (0.2 percent) to close at 4,562.19.

  • Markets Boosted by Fed's Interest Rate Stance - 10 April 2014
  • Markets responded positively Wednesday to minutes of the Federal Reserve's recent policy meeting which revealed that the central bank aims to keep interest rates low. This came as somewhat of a surprise to many investors and served to boost fragile investor sentiment. All three of Wall Street's major stock indexes closed the day up more than 1 percent, with eight of the ten Standard & Poor's 500 stock index sectors closing higher. The S&P 500 rose 20.22 points (1.1 percent) to close at 1,872.18, while the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 181.04 points (1.1 percent) to close at 16,437.18. The Nasdaq composite index increased by 70.91 points (1.7 percent) to close at 4,183.90. The day's biggest increases were among biotechnology and internet stocks.

  • Fed's Stimulus Strategy Unchanged - 19 September 2013
  • In recent months there has been widespread consensus on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve will start tapering off its economic stimulus strategies by about $10 billion per month for the balance of the year. So the announcement from the central bank that it would continue its bond-buying program indefinitely, as is, was met with a mixture of surprise and relief by Wall Street investors, pushing markets up considerably by close of trade Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 146.44 points (0.94 percent) to 15,676.17, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 20.67 points (1.21 percent) to 1,725.43, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 37.94 points (1.01 percent) to 3,783.64.

  • Fed Bond Purchases to Slow Down Later This Year - 11 July 2013
  • The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting held in June were released yesterday, revealing the Fed's intentions for tapering off quantitative easing (QE) later this year, and sparking a minor rally on Wall Street. After moving into positive territory, the Dow dropped and closed slightly lower, breaking its four-day advance, while the S&P 500 closed with a small gain on Wednesday. When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested in June that the economy's expansion appeared strong enough to allow the central bank to slow down its bond purchases later in the year, investors apparently took this to mean that the Fed could potentially start pulling back as early as September. The FOMC minutes do not support this, but rather suggest that the job market needs to be stronger and steadier before the Fed would reduce bond purchases and while some felt confident this would be soon, remarks made by Bernanke at a news conference following the meeting suggested bond purchases would likely slow down later in the year, with a view to ending them in mid-2014, if the economy continued to show signs of strengthening.

  • Wall St Boosted by Fed Rates Forecast - 26 January 2012
  • Following a slow start on Wall Street on Wednesday, US stocks rebounded on news that the Federal Reserve intends to keep interest rates low through to late 2014 – an adjustment of its previous indication that rates would be kept low through to mid-2013. The announcement came as the Fed's two-day policy meeting drew to a close, and by the end of the day the Dow Jones industrial average had gained 83 points, recovering from its loss of 95 points in the morning trading session. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 11 points, after having lost 7 points earlier. The Nasdaq composite added 32 points, with Apple and software company CA Inc reporting better than expected earnings and boosting the tech-favored index.

  • Dodd-Frank, Operation Twist & Wall Street - 22 September 2011
  • It's been a year since the Dodd-Frank bill was signed into law, putting a whole new perspective on the term "too big to fail" and putting the brakes on taxpayer bailouts for failing financial institutions. With the downgrading of the credit ratings of three major banks – Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup – on Wednesday, it appears that the time has come to test the effectiveness of the Dodd-Frank bill. Commenting on the downgrade of Wells Fargo's stock, Moody's noted that, because the risks of contagion have become less acute, allowing a financially troubled large bank to fail is more likely to happen now than would have been the case during the financial crisis. This is seen as a vindication of the stance lawmakers took in passing the bill. Instead of propping up failing financial institutions with taxpayers' money, the federal government has the option of unwinding these banks in a controlled and orderly manner. Each of the three banks in question is required to present a plan by July next year outlining steps for distribution of assets in the event of becoming insolvent.

  • US Markets Slide Amidst Global Gloom - 12 August 2010
  • Stock market investing is surely not for the faint-hearted, especially in these times where every new day seems to bring a new, and often unprecedented, challenge. Following the announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve that it would begin buying government bonds in an effort to stimulate the persistently sluggish economy, stocks and interest rates plummeted on Wednesday, reflecting the trepidation of investors with regard to economic recovery. Other factors that impacted negatively on markets included the news from the U.S. Commerce Department that, primarily due to the fall in exports, the trade deficit for June widened to reach its highest level in 20 months. It follows that a decline in exports will lead to a slow-down in U.S. manufacturing, which is particularly disappointing, given that the manufacturing sector had shown the most promising signs of recovery earlier this year.

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