Stock market news today
“The Federal Reserve on Wednesday maintained interest rates at near-zero, noting that economic activity and employment have “picked up somewhat in recent months” but cautioned that the coronavirus needs to be contained in order to have faith in a rebound.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the economy into lockdown, the Federal Open Market Committee slashed interest rates to near-zero and restarted its crisis-era policy of asset purchases through quantitative easing.
Since then, the Fed has leaned heavily on its lender of last resort powers by setting up 11 liquidity facilities designed to backstop financial markets, ranging from corporate debt to municipal bonds. However, the virus’ resurgence in parts of the country have stoked new fears about a rebound, and a much feared second wave is clouding the outlook.
“The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus,” the Federal Open Market Committee added to its policy statement on Wednesday.
Although jobs reports for May and June showed strong gains, the Fed said employment remains “well below their levels at the beginning of the year.” Virus counts continue to climb, and the U.S. now has over 4.2 million reported cases of COVID-19 with the number of deaths creeping toward 150,000.
Progress on an effective COVID-19 vaccine comes as the virus continues to claim new victims worldwide, while the U.S. fights an uphill battle to contain a surge in confirmed cases. A treatment remains key to ending the severe restrictions on public life, as public mask-wearing and social distancing become flashpoints in U.S. political discourse.
The Fed originally intended to keep most of its liquidity facilities open through September, but the U.S. Treasury and the Fed agreed to extend those facilities through December 31. One facility targeting short-term corporate financing, the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, will remain operational through mid-March 2021.
Alongside the statement, the Fed extended its U.S. dollar liquidity swap lines with foreign and international monetary authorities through the end of March 2021. The Fed says the move will “help sustain recent improvements in global U.S. dollar funding markets by maintaining these important liquidity backstops.” The facility was originally supposed to expire in October.
Although the Fed had messaged from the beginning that it was flexible with the end dates for its facilities, the extension underscores the concern that market support may be needed for longer than the central bank had originally hoped.
The central bank’s statement noted that “overall financial conditions have improved in recent months.”
Stock market data: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/fed-fomc-monetary-policy-decision-july-2020-150924227.html
Stock market live
At 2:26 PM, ET time today the US stock market is rising.
S&P 500: 3,251.60,+33.16(+1.03%)
Dow 30: 26,489.05,+109.77(+0.42%)
Russell 2000: 1,493.97,+24.21(+1.65%)
Stock market data: Yahoo Finance