The U.S. Federal Reserve
, which has been long on transparency and, accordingly, short on monetary surprises in recent years, lived up to its reputation this afternoon, as it voted to keep interest rates unchanged
. Expectations for no rate change had been almost universal going into the meeting yesterday.
The Federal Reserve
issued its Beige Book
economic summation a little earlier this afternoon, and there were no surprises. In fact, the stock market, up strongly at that time, continued to hold its impressive gains following the mid-afternoon issuance.
The Federal Reserve did the expected
and for now, at least, Wall Street barely reacted
. Specifically, the central bank chose to leave interest rates unchanged
at its two-day FOMC meeting
, which just concluded. That had been widely expected. Also widely forecast had been the Fed's indication that it would begin next month to roll off its $4.5 trillion balance sheet, much of which consists of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed assets it had acquired in the depths of the recession late last decade and its aftermath.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book economic summation
came out minutes ago, and this compilation of business conditions across the country signaled that the nation's long-lived economic upturn was continuing to press forward
at a modest pace. However, the lead bank also cautioned about the auto industry, which continues to trend lower following a multi-year climb.
The Federal Reserve
, as widely expected, has just voted to keep interest rates unchanged
following the conclusion of its latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Prior to that get together, some polls had given the central bank just about a 3% chance of raising borrowing costs at the meeting. Any decision other that the one just made, therefore, might have produced some quick and sharp selling. Fortunately for the bulls, that did not occur.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book
review of the nation's economy was issued earlier this afternoon and it was received with a yawn. Specifically, the stock market, off modestly before the release, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down some 40 points, or so, barely moved in the first minutes following the publication.
The Federal Reserve
, as transparent as ever, again did the expected when it voted to maintain the current level of interest rates on short-term borrowings
. That decision came at the conclusion of its two-day FOMC meeting, which ended at 2:00 PM (EDT) this afternoon. Few had expected the bank to tighten the monetary aggregates. It had done so at its previous meeting, in mid-March.
The selectively weaker stock market
was at least treated
to a generally benign Federal Reserve Beige Book economic summation
. On point, the Fed noted that each of its 12 Federal Reserve Districts had experienced economic growth between mid-February and the end of March and that the pace of this improvement could be termed modest to moderate. In addition, the pickup was evident across the various economic regions of the country and the respective business sectors.
The U. S. Labor Department
threw a real curve ball out at the economic expansion
on this first week of the 2017 baseball season. Specifically, the March report
from the U.S. Government showed that just 98,000 new jobs were added last month
. Worse, initially estimated payroll gains for January and February were revised modestly lower.
The nation's Federal Reserve Board
, which may not always do what investors want, at least rarely surprises them these days. The lead bank earlier this afternoon opted to boost the federal funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point
, there were few raised eyebrows. Of note, this move had been widely telegraphed in recent weeks, with the odds of an increase in borrowing costs being close to 100% in the days leading up to the Fed meeting.