What you think of today’s statement by the Federal Reserve depends a lot on what you thought before the announcement. Those who believed the Fed was on course to tighten in the fall see the statement as dovish; those who thought that was unlikely see the statement as either neutral or even hawkish. I’m in the camp who believes this statement was neutral as to the outlook for policy changes.
The Dow took the Fed ball and ran with it, crossing the finish line with a gain of more than 330 points.
The dollar trimmed gains against the euro and yen Tuesday after the Federal Reserve kept benchmark interest rates unchanged at 2 percent, as expected and said risks remain to U.S. economic growth.
The Dow got a pop of relief after the Fed announced plans to hold rates steady and said inflation should moderate.
The recent pullback in commodity prices—particularly oil—may moderate inflation in the coming months, providing some relief for consumers, stocks and the Fed.
Below is the statement released by the Federal Open Market Committee after its Aug. 5 meeting on interest rate policy:
The Fed held U.S. interest rates steady, expressing concerns about both economic growth and inflation and indicating it is in no rush to push borrowing costs higher.
Stocks rallied unusually sharply for a Fed-meeting day, buoyed by oil's drop below $120 a barrel and a better-than-expected report on the services sector.
Stocks jumped after a report showed a better-than-expected improvement in the service sector last month. The market had already been buoyed by falling oil prices and confidence that the Federal Reserve won't deliver any surprise surprise rate moves.
Oil prices hit a three-month low of $118 a barrel on Tuesday, prompting some analysts to say oil's six-year rally has run its course—but only for now.
Stock index futures pointed to a solid rise at the start of trading Tuesday, with sentiment buoyed by falling oil prices and confidence the Federal Reserve won't surprise the Street with any rate moves at its afternoon meeting.
Australia's central bank on Tuesday opened the door to the first cut in interest rates for seven years, saying slowing demand and tight financial conditions were set to bring inflation down over time.
Wall Street widely expects the Fed to keep interest rates unchanged Tuesday as the central bank grapples with a faltering economy, shaky financial system and higher prices.
Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius said the economy is entering a second slowdown phase and he expects a further decline in housing prices into next year. Today, he lowered his fourth quarter outlook to flat GDP, and he now expects two stagnant quarters - Q4 and Q1 - before the economy stages a sluggish recovery in 2009.
The dollar rose against the yen on Monday as the oil price's drop to a three-month low and some upbeat U.S. economic data generated optimism about the prospects of the broader economy.
With rising inflation and slowing growth, what's the Fed to do with this type of economic climate as they meet on Tuesday to decide the direction of interest rates.
New orders at U.S. factories increased by a greater-than-expected 1.7 percent in June, helped by a sharp gain in nondurable goods orders, a Commerce Department report on Monday showed.
U.S. consumer incomes rose at the lowest rate in over a year during June and inflation showed signs of accelerating.
The specter of stagflation will likely keep the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England from changing short term interest rates this week, and their hands may be tied for some time as economic growth slows but inflation remains high.
The main event this week is the Fed meeting on Tuesday and investors will tune in to see if Bernanke & Co. offer any insight on inflation. Plus, more earnings, including Cisco, P&G and AIG.