Fed Undertakes QE3 With $40 Billion Monthly MBS Purchases (Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve said it will expand its holdings of long-term securities with open-ended purchases of $40 billion of mortgage debt a month as part of a third round of quantitative easing intended to boost growth and reduce unemployment. The Fed’s policymaking committee said it probably would hold the federal funds rate near zero “at least through mid-2015.” While many on the street consider this a step in the right direction, others expect further stimulus before the end of the year. Stocks soared after the Fed’s statement. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumped 1.63% to 1,459.99 closing at its highest point since Dec. 2007.
Gold jumps 2% as Fed stimulus fans inflation fears (Reuters)
Gold surged 2% on Thursday, nearing its high for the year after the Federal Reserve launched an aggressive, bullion-friendly economic stimulus program. Spot gold was bid at $1,765.40 an ounce as of 3:08 p.m. EDT, after reaching a high of $1,772.26, within striking distance of a 2012 high of $1,790 set on Feb. 29. Precious metals should continue to perform well into the new year.
Apple sets new highs after iPhone 5 rollout (Marketwatch)
Investors in Apple Inc. watched their shares reach record highs on Thursday, a day after the company’s high-profile introduction of the iPhone 5. Apple shares rose 2% to set a record close of $682.98. Earlier in the session, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech powerhouse also set a new high of $685.50. On Wednesday, Apple unveiled the new versions of the iPhone and its iPod products, highlighting its dominant position in the mobile computing market.
Record U.S. Poverty Rate Holds As Inequality Grows (Businessweek)
Poverty is a gnawing problem in the United States and the market’s rise is not reflective of the persistent presence of the poor in our society. For half a decade, the percent of Americans living below the poverty line has increased each year, jumping from 12.3% in 2006 to 15.1% in 2010. Today, the Census Bureau released its analysis of U.S. poverty in 2011, and the official poverty rate essentially held at 15%, meaning that 46.2 million people in America live below the poverty line.