Stocks higher, after Fed holds steady on rates - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Stocks higher, after Fed holds steady on rates

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NEW YORK, N.Y. -  The Federal Reserve has decided to keep a key interest rate unchanged as it uses other tools to try to assist the troubled financial system.

Stocks, which initially turned lower again after the announcement, moved back into positive territory in late afternoon trading.

The central bank said it was keeping its target for the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge on overnight loans, unchanged at 2 percent.

Earlier today, the Fed pumped an additional 70 billion dollars into the financial system through open market operations.

Some investors had hoped the Fed would cut rates after financial markets were stunned by investment bank Lehman Brothers' failure over the weekend to find financing or a buyer.

In a statement, the Fed noted strains in financial market and weakness in the job market as well as continued concerns about inflation.

The Fed said it would closely monitor economic developments going forward and would be prepared to "act as needed to promote sustainable economic growth and price stability."

The Labor Department reported today that consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent last month, a significant improvement from a 1.1 percent price spike in June and a 0.8 percent rise in July. The cost of gasoline and other fuels have plunged, reflecting big drops in crude oil prices.

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