Stocks swung solidly higher on Wall Street in afternoon trading Monday after the Federal Reserve said it would begin buying individual corporate bonds, the central bank’s latest move to prop up volatile financial markets through the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
The S&P 500 was up 1% after being down as much as 2.5% shortly after trading began in New York. The gains followed sharp losses in Asia and more moderate ones in Europe. Worries were on the rise that new waves of coronavirus infections around the world could derail the swift economic recovery that Wall Street had seemed sure just a week ago was on the way.
President Donald Trump praised the Federal Reserve for cutting the federal funds rate to a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent, and restarting quantitative easing with $500 billion of U.S. treasuries purchases and $200 billion of mortgage purchases in response to the Chinese coronavirus global pandemic.
“It makes me very happy and I want to congratulate the Federal Reserve,” he said. “That’s a big step and I’m very happy they did it.” Trump has been hounding the Fed for years to cut interest rates to make the dollar more competitive against trading partners’ currencies including the yuan, euro and peso. Now he gets his wish.
The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to near zero on Sunday as part of a series of measures intended to combat the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The central bank cut rates to 0% to 0.25%, the central bank announced in a statement. The Fed will also purchase $700 billion worth of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities through quantitative easing, a measure previously used during the Great Recession to get money flowing back into the markets, The Washington Post reported.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised a key interest rate for the third time this year in response to a strong U.S. economy and signaled that it expected to maintain a pace of gradual rate hikes. The Fed lifted its short-term rate — a benchmark for many consumer and business…