Speed Reads


The Fed is widely expected to cut interest rates today for the first time in a decade

The Federal Reserve is expected to announce its first interest rate cut in a decade when it wraps up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, CNBC reports. Fed leaders have telegraphed the move, saying such policies would help continue the economy's record-long expansion. Most analysts are anticipating a quarter-point cut, although some believe the Fed will cut rates by 50 basis points. Either way, it's unusual for the Fed to cut rates as data show "above trend growth" and such a strong labor market, rather than waiting to offer stimulus when the economy is heading into trouble, said Ethan Harris, head of global economic research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "There's no historical precedent," he said.

U.S. stock index futures rose early Wednesday as investors braced for the announcement, CNBC reports. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 percent, while those of the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were up by 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The three main U.S. indexes retreated from last week's record highs for the second straight day on Tuesday after a mixed flurry of corporate earnings reports. The Dow dropped by 0.1 percent on Tuesday. The S&P 500 dropped 0.3 percent, and the Nasdaq fell by 0.2 percent.