News / USA

    US Fed Policies Send Stocks to Record Highs

    US Central Bank Stays Course on Monetary Stimulusi
    X
    September 19, 2013 12:24 AM
    U.S. stock prices reached new highs Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would stay the course on efforts to stimulate the economy. And that rally could continue, despite the central bank's conclusion that the U.S. economic recovery still has a way to go before it becomes fully sustainable. As Mil Arcega reports, many economists were expecting the Fed to start scaling back its bond purchases this month as the economy recovers from the worst recession in decades.
    U.S. stock prices reached new highs Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would stay the course on efforts to stimulate the economy. And that rally could continue, despite the central bank's conclusion that the U.S. economic recovery still has a way to go before it becomes fully sustainable. Many economists were expecting the Fed to start scaling back its bond purchases this month as the economy recovers from the worst recession in decades.

    Top central bank officials concluded two days of meetings Wednesday by doing something completely unexpected - nothing.  

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke summed up their findings - saying there would be no immediate change.

    “As you already know from our statement, the committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at zero to one-fourth percent and to make no change in either its asset purchase programs or its forward guidance regarding the federal funds rate target," said Bernanke.

    The Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion in bonds a month to stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates low.  

    Financial markets reacted almost instantly - sending stock prices sharply higher.

    Not surprising says economics professor Steven Kyle.  He spoke to VOA via Skype.

    “Well, in the stock market, they’re happy because that means that long-term interest rates will stay low.  That’s a good thing for stocks, and they can keep the party going a while longer," said Kyle.

    But the decision to maintain the stimulus package confirms that the U.S. economy is not as robust as many hoped.  Bernanke says the job market remains weak.

    “Notably, at 7.3 percent, the unemployment rate remains well above acceptable levels.  Long-term unemployment and underemployment remain high," he said.
     
    Economist Joseph Gagnon at the Peterson Institute had predicted the tapering would not happen this month, partly because of intense market speculation, and partly because of the tepid economy.

    “Things are not looking as good as they were three months ago, the last time they did a forecast.  And part of that is the higher interest rates, which have risen because of this talk about tapering itself, is making the economy worse," said Gagnon.

    Some say it’s not a question of when the Fed will start tapering but by how much.

    That could be more difficult given expectations that Bernanke will step down as Fed chairman when his term ends in January - says the Concord Coalition's Robert Bixby.

    “It’s going to be a difficult job because you’re essentially unwinding a policy that somebody put in place and that’s a difficult challenge," said Bixby.

    Market experts say a more immediate problem may not be the size of the taper but whether Congress is able to agree on government spending levels or the size of the U.S. debt when budget negotiations begin later this month.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora