FederalReserve

Stocks Close Lower for Fifth Day Straight

The Dow Jones industrial average closed lower for the fifth straight day as worries about sluggish economic growth weighed on markets. The Dow ended the day down 49 points at 12,605, after minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting highlighted concerns about the U.S. economy.

Fed Notes Better Economy, Takes No Policy Action

The Federal Reserve offered a more positive view of the economy after a burst of hiring since its last meeting. It held off taking further steps to boost the recovery and reiterated its plan to keep short-term interest rates near zero until at least late 2014. The Fed's statement issued after Tuesday's one-day meeting was more upbeat than the one it released in January.

All Areas of the Country Show Growth, Fed Reports

The U.S. economy started the year off well with busier factories, higher retail sales, more jobs and growth in home sales. The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that all 12 of its banking districts reported some level of growth in January and the first half of February. Manufacturing output rose in all districts. Auto manufacturing, steel makers and other metal producers all reported solid growth.

Fed Unlikely to Raise Rates Until at Least 2014

The Federal Reserve went further than ever Wednesday to assure consumers and businesses that they'll be able to borrow cheaply well into the future. The Fed pushed back the earliest date for any likely increase in its benchmark interest rate by at least a year and a half, until at least late 2014. It said record-low rates are still needed to help boost an improving but still sluggish economy.

Fed Survey Shows Economy Ended 2011 with Strength

The final weeks of 2011 were among the economy's strongest as Americans shopped and traveled more, ending the year with a shot of optimism for 2012. That's the bright picture the Federal Reserve sketched in a survey released Wednesday.

Fed to Regularly Forecast Interest-Rate Changes

In a major shift, the Federal Reserve will start updating the public four times a year on how long it plans to keep short-term interest rates at record lows, according to minutes from its December policy meeting. The first forecast will be included in the central bank's economic projections after its Jan. 24-25 meeting, the minutes said.

Fed Takes No New Action at Final Meeting of 2011

The Federal Reserve says the economy has grown moderately as hiring and consumer spending have improved. As a result, it's holding off on any new steps to boost the economy. But Fed officials, noting that unemployment remains high and global economic growth has slowed, left open the possibility of taking new steps next year if the economy worsens.

Fed Nearing a Plan to Clarify Direction of Rates

The Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke has gone further than ever to explain its policies to the public. It's ready to go further still. A Fed policy meeting Tuesday will likely focus in part on an evolving plan to reveal the direction of interest rates more explicitly.

Fed to Test Six Big Banks for Euro Stress

The Federal Reserve plans to stress test six large U.S. banks against a hypothetical market shock, including a deterioration of the European debt crisis, as part of an annual review of bank health. The Fed said it will publish next year the results of the tests for six banks that have large trading operations: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

Fed Holds Off On Further Actions To Help Economy

The Federal Reserve is holding off on any new actions to help the economy because stronger growth is giving it time to gauge the impact of steps it's already taken. Fed policymakers made the announcement after a two-day meeting.

Food and Gas Cost More in September

Consumers paid more for food and gas last month, although inflation outside those volatile categories was tame. The Labor Department says the Consumer Price Index rose 0.3% in September, below August's 0.4% rise. Excluding food and energy, so-called core prices increased 0.1%, the smallest rise since March.

Economists Mixed on Fed's 'Operation Twist'

As Ben Bernanke pulled a trick from the 1960s Fed handbook to twist down long-term interest rates, experts are mixed on how it will affect the U.S. economy. Wall Street certainly reacted negatively to the news. The Dow fell more than 280 points.

Overdraft Fees Remain High Despite Fed Rules

A year after the Federal Reserve enacted new rules to rein in abusive bank overdraft practices, fees remain high and some institutions actually have slapped on additional penalties, according to a new survey by the Consumer Federation of America.

Could the U.S. Print Its Way Out of the Debt Crisis?

Everyone now knows the federal government is about to run up against its limit for borrowing money, but everyone also knows that governments can -- and do -- just print the stuff. Washington owns the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Could the way to sidestep this looming crisis be just making more money?

Bank Settlements Bring Homeowners a Bit of Relief

This week brought a bit of good news for some troubled homeowners in the form of two separate settlement activities. The FTC has begun mailing refund checks to 450,000 Countrywide customers, and Wells Fargo reached an $85 million settlement with the Fed that will provide relief to up to 10,000 customers.

Hot Stocks for a Cool Market: Annaly Capital

A stock that does well when the rest of the market tanks -- that's the appeal of Annaly Capital management. While other stocks wilt under the heat of unemployment and an uncertain economy, Annaly thrives under these conditions. Then there's the company's dividend yield: a cool 14.2%.

How the Cut in Debit Card Swipe Fees Will Affect You

Banks received some long-awaited news last week: the Fed capped the fees they can charge to retailers on debit card transactions at roughly 24 cents per transaction, down from an average of 44 cents. It was better than they'd feared: The initial proposal was a 12 cent cap. But how will all those pennies add up for consumers?

Financial Landscape: Dreary Polls and Tax Loopholes

Nearly 90% of Americans still see owning a home as a key part of the American Dream, but 39% see us in a permanent economic downturn. Meanwhile, Obama has set his sights on closing tax loopholes for businesses and the rich, but the Fed just cut banks a break in new rules on debit card swipe fees.

Fed Leaves Rates Alone, Consumers Keep Status Quo

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would leave interest rates unchanged -- for now. For consumers, that means a holding pattern for the near term, with little impact on borrowing, great rates for mortgages, and no hikes for credit cards. By end of summer, that may change.

Legal Briefing: Can BP Victims Get Paid and Still Sue?

Legal Briefing: BP and BP spill fund czar Kenneth Feinberg is taking a lot of flak for the details of the compensation program. One issue is the likelihood that people who take payments won't be able to sue later.