Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke pauses as he speaks at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition, May 15, 2008.
The Fed spoke today and markets got spooked.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 15,618.7 , -61.5, -0.3 %
- S&P 500: 1,763.3, -8.6, -0.4%
- NASDAQ: 3,930.6, -21.7, -0.5%
And now the top stories:
- Most economists expected today's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement to be a non-event. So, one could argue the bar was set low for any type of surprise. As expected, the Fed kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged near-zero and it announced no tapering of its stimulative quantitative easing program.
- The Fed said that it saw improvement in the economy despite the fiscal retrenchment. It also excluded a previous statement about tightening financial conditions putting a strain on the economy. Overall, the message appears to be positive on the economy, which in turn may be seen as hawkish on monetary policy.
- "The October FOMC statement was just a bit more hawkish than expected," said Goldman Sachs' Jan Hatzius. "While financial conditions have certainly eased, we expected the Fed to err on the side of dovishness and retain some version of this language."
- Earlier today, the ADP said the private sector added just 130,000 new payrolls in October, which was down from 145,000 in September. This was a six-month low, and it was also much worse than the 150,000 expected by economists. "With the official non-farm payroll figures for October delayed until 8th November, the impact of the weakness in the ADP will presumably linger in the markets for longer than normal," said Capital Economics' Paul Ashworth. "At the margin it supports the now widespread view that the Fed won't begin to reduce the pace of its monthly asset purchases until the first half of next year."
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