Wreckage from a massive crisis on Wall Street could prompt the Federal Reserve to do an about face and once again cut a key interest rate this week or possibly later this year, economists said Monday.
Just a few days ago, a rate cut appeared largely off the table. Now it has emerged as a possibility as the Fed prepares to meet Tuesday against a backdrop of historic upheaval in the U.S. financial system.
Before the extraordinary events over the weekend, the prevailing wisdom was that the Fed would hold its key interest rate steady at 2 percent at its next meeting on Tuesday.
Although that still could happen, a growing number of economists and investors now believe there is a chance the Fed could reduce its rate by one-quarter or even a bolder one-half percentage point on Tuesday. Much hinges on the information the Fed gets about how the inner workings of the U.S. financial system are functioning and how Wall Street investors react to the crisis.
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The Fed in June halted its most aggressive rate-cutting campaign to shore up the economy out of fears that those low rates were aggravating inflation. It didn't budge the rate at the last meeting in August for the same reason. Many don't think additional rate reductions would have done much to bolster the shaky economy anyway and would have made the inflation problem even worse.
I would be very surprised to see the Fed cut rates on Tuesday, says CNBC’s Steve Liesman on Fast Money. However, I know more traders are starting to bet on rate cuts later in the year.
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Trader disclosure: On Sept 15, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (WMT), (TTWO), (MSFT); Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (MSFT), (INTC),( NUE); Najarian Owns (AAPL) And (AAPL) Collar; Najarian Owns (AMGN) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (MS) And (MS) Collar; Najarian Owns Owns (NOK) And Is Short (NOK) Call; Najarian Owns (RIMM) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (TSO) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (WB) Puts; Najarian Owns (XLF) And (XLF) Collar; Terranova Owns (NOV), (X), (POT), (FCX), (EOG), (AAPL), (GS), (KOL), (VLO), (SA); Terranova Owns (AIG) Puts And Owns (AIG)
Terranova Is Chief Alternatives Strategist Of Phoenix Investment Partners, Ltd.: Phoenix Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (ABD), (ARE), (BIG), (BRE), (CNTY), (CNW), (CLB), (OFC), (DLM), (DRH), (DLR), (EPR), (ESS), (EXR), (AGM), (FL), (GBL), (GNET), (IGE), (LNET), (MAC), (OIIM), (PSPT), (DBC), (DBV), (SLB), (GWX), (SSYS), (SKT), (UA), (BIV), (VV), (BLV); Phoenix Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of Goldman Sachs Financial Square Fund - Money Market Fund; Phoenix Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of Seagate Technology Tax Refund Rights
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