The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released it decision on U.S. financial policy just minutes ago, and the results are both expected and disappointing. While the FOMC did cut rates by the expected 25 basis points to 4.5%, the central bank basically said that the buck stops here. While growth has been solid, the pace of economic expansion will likely slow in the near-term, partly reflecting the intensification of the housing correction, the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement.
Continuing, the Fed noted that the rate cut, along with other moves by the Fed, should help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy from the disruption of financial markets. However, officials signaled that growth and inflation risks are roughly balanced and policy action to date should help the economy, suggesting future rate reductions are by no means as assured as Wall Street thinks.
It was the cautionary language regarding the potential for future rate cuts this year that has sent the major market indices sharply lower in the ensuing minutes. Before the FOMC decision, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was trading up some 90 points. Following the news, the Dow is up just 4 points and is flirting with negative territory as traders digest the very real possibility that they may have seen the last interest rate cut this year.