Fed: No Interest Rate Changes in Last Meeting of Year

The final Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting of the year just ended, and the nation's central bankers took no action. The key interest rate - known as the Fed Funds rate - remains at 0 to 0.25 percent as does the Fed's promise to keep rates at his historically low level through mid-2013.

The post-meeting statement suggests the Fed sees "…the economy has been expanding moderately, notwithstanding some apparent slowing in global growth."

Other key points in their assessment of the economy:

  • There are indicators that the jobs situation is getting better, but unemployment remains too high.
  • American consumers are consistently increasing their spending.
  • Businesses are not increasing their spending as quickly.
  • Housing market continues to be a trouble spot.
  • Prices are increasing at a moderate pace, and long-term inflation expectations are in-check.

They did note that there are "significant downside risks" and most on Wall Street suggest this is a less-than-subtle hint at the risks posed by Europe's current debt woes.

Markets were expecting the Fed might announce a new program that would lower an interest rate at the Discount Window - currently around 0.75 percent. The lack of action on that front pushed stocks into negative territory for the day.

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