Tag: Interest Rates

Looking for a Lower Credit Card Interest Rate? Good Luck.

Credit card debt is rising, and shopping for a card with a lower interest rate can help you save money. But the challenge is finding one. Smaller banks and credit unions typically charge significantly lower interest rates on credit cards than the largest banks do — even among customers with top-notch credit, the Consumer Financial […]

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A Mortgage After 65: A ‘No Brainer’ or a Big Risk?

Conventional wisdom dictates that retiring with debt — especially a debt as large and significant as a mortgage — is financially dicey at best and potentially ruinous at worst. That’s not how Brian Lindmeier sees it. “It just doesn’t make any sense at all to pay off the house,” he said. Mr. Lindmeier, 80, a […]

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U.K. Economy Shrank as 2023 Ended, Tipping Into Recession

The News Britain’s economy sunk into a recession at the end of last year, capping off a year of economic strain in which interest rates were pushed to their highest level in a decade and a half to stamp out high inflation. Gross domestic product contracted 0.3 percent in October to December from the previous […]

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Japan’s Economy Slips Into Recession and to No. 4 in Global Ranking

The Japanese economy contracted at the end of last year, defying expectations for modest growth and pushing the country into a recession. Japan’s unexpectedly weak economy in the fourth quarter was the result of a slowdown in spending by businesses and consumers who are grappling with inflation at four-decade highs, a weak yen and climbing […]

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Three Lessons From a Surprisingly Resilient Job Market

The pandemic created an economic crisis unlike any recession on record. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the aftermath, too, has played out in a way that almost no economists expected. When unemployment soared in the first weeks of the pandemic, many feared a repeat of the long, slow rebound from the Great Recession: […]

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Stocks Sink as Stubborn Inflation Resets Fed Rate Forecasts

Stock markets tumbled on Tuesday as investors slashed their bets on the Federal Reserve taking the brakes off the economy in the coming months, after hotter-than-expected inflation data led traders to expect interest rates will remain higher for longer. The benchmark S&P 500 stock index fell over 1 percent in early trading. The index has […]

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‘Zombie Offices’ Spell Trouble for Some Banks

Graceful art-deco buildings towering above Chicago’s key business district report occupancy rates as low as 17 percent. A set of gleaming office towers in Denver that were full of tenants and worth $176 million in 2013 now sit largely empty and were last appraised at just $82 million, according to data provided by Trepp, a […]

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Fed Chair Powell Says Officials Need More ‘Good’ Data Before Cutting Rates

Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, made clear during a “60 Minutes” interview aired on Sunday night that the central bank is moving toward cutting interest rates as inflation recedes, but that policymakers need to see continued progress toward cooler price increases to make the first move. Mr. Powell was interviewed on […]

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Job Market Starts 2024 With a Bang

The United States produced an unexpectedly sizable batch of jobs last month, a boon for American workers that shows the labor market retains remarkable strength after three years of expansion. Employers added 353,000 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported on Friday, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent. […]

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Blockbuster Jobs Report Backs Up Fed’s Patience as It Waits to Cut Rates

Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged this week and signaled that their next move is likely to be a cut — but they also suggested that they are in no hurry to make that change. Friday’s jobs data is likely to reinforce their cautious stance. Employers hired much more rapidly than expected in January, […]

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Economists Expected a Hiring Slowdown. So Much for That.

Job gains remain rapid, unemployment is near a historic low and wage gains are robust nearly two years into the Federal Reserve’s campaign to cool the economy with higher interest rates — an outcome that has surprised policymakers and economic forecasters alike. At this time last year, Fed officials were predicting that unemployment would have […]

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Blockbuster Jobs Report Bolsters Fed’s Patience as It Waits to Cut Rates

Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged this week and signaled that their next move is likely to be a cut — but they also signaled that they are in no hurry to make that change. Friday’s jobs data is likely to support their cautious stance. Employers hired much more rapidly than expected in January, […]

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Our Economy Isn’t ‘Goldilocks.’ It’s Better.

“Let’s be honest, this is a good economy.” So declared Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, in his news conference on Wednesday after the Fed’s latest policy meeting. He’s right, even if the public isn’t fully convinced (although the gap between economic perceptions and reality seems to be narrowing). In fact, Powell is […]

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The Markets Want Rate Cuts but The Fed Is Taking Its Time

U.S. economic reports have been sparkling. The economy appears to be booming, the labor market looks strong and inflation seems to be on the decline. Yet this seemingly propitious combination has locked the Federal Reserve into inaction. At its policymaking meeting this week, the Fed decided to do precisely nothing. It held the main policy […]

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The Federal Reserve Meets Wednesday. Here’s What to Watch.

Federal Reserve officials will conclude their two-day meeting on Wednesday, and they are widely expected to keep interest rates steady at a two-decade high when they release their policy decision at 2 p.m. But investors are likely to closely watch the meeting — particularly Chair Jerome H. Powell’s 2:30 p.m. news conference — for hints […]

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Global Economy Is Heading Toward ‘Soft Landing,’ I.M.F. Says

The global economy has been battered by a pandemic, record levels of inflation, protracted wars and skyrocketing interest rates over the past four years, raising fears of a painful worldwide downturn. But fresh forecasts published on Tuesday suggest that the world has managed to defy the odds, averting the threat of a so-called hard landing. […]

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Eurozone Economy Flatlines, Raising Concerns About Falling Behind

The eurozone economy stagnated late last year as a lingering energy crisis sparked a loss of competitiveness in some European industries, and consumers reined in spending to grapple with high living costs, Europe’s statistics agency reported Tuesday. But economists believe the worst may be over, as the European Central Bank continues its campaign to wring […]

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Why Cut Rates in an Economy This Strong? A Big Question Confronts the Fed.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of its meeting on Wednesday, but investors will be watching closely for any hint at when and how much it might lower those rates this year. The expected rate cuts raise a big question: Why would central bankers lower borrowing costs […]

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Economists Predicted a Recession. So Far They’ve Been Wrong.

The recession America was expecting never showed up. Many economists spent early 2023 predicting a painful downturn, a view so widely held that some commentators started to treat it as a given. Inflation had spiked to the highest level in decades, and a range of forecasters thought that it would take a drop in demand […]

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PCE, a Key Inflation Measure, Cooled in December

A measure of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve continued to cool in December, the latest sign that price increases are coming back under control even as growth remains solid and the labor market healthy. In particularly positive news, a key gauge of price increases dipped below 3 percent for the first time since […]

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When Will the European Central Bank Start Cutting Rates?

If what goes up must come down, then the urgent question on the minds of many in Europe is when will interest rates begin dropping? For months, rates have been set at the highest in the European Central Bank’s history. Despite the protests of the eurozone’s policymakers, investors have been betting that the central bank […]

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The U.S. Seems to Be Dodging a Recession. What Could Go Wrong?

With inflation falling, unemployment low and the Federal Reserve signaling it could soon begin cutting interest rates, forecasters are becoming increasingly optimistic that the U.S. economy could avoid a recession. Wells Fargo last week became the latest big bank to predict that the economy will achieve a soft landing, gently slowing rather than screeching to […]

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Stocks Are in a Bull Market. What Does That Mean?

The S&P 500 index closed at a record on Friday, crossing above its old high-water mark, set in early 2022. The gains show that investors have overcome fears of rising interest rates and panic about a recession that had governed stock trading for much of the past two years. Instead, they’re now betting that a […]

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Stocks Climb to Record, Lifted by Big Tech and Rate Cut Hopes

The stock market broke through to new heights on Friday, with the S&P 500 index finally hitting a record after weeks of bumping up against its previous peak. The index, one of the most widely watched Wall Street benchmarks and a cornerstone of many portfolios, rose 1.2 percent to close above the high that was […]

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Economics Textbooks Are Finally Getting a Vital Update

To steer the economy, the Federal Reserve sets a target for the federal funds rate, which is the rate that banks charge one another for overnight loans. Until 2008, the Fed influenced the federal funds rate by adding or subtracting reserves from the banking system. It did so through the buying and selling of bonds, […]

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U.K. Inflation Edges Higher, Halting 10-Month Decline

The News Inflation in Britain rose slightly in December, picking up for the first time in almost a year, after a change in tobacco taxes pushed up prices. Consumer prices rose 4 percent in December from a year earlier, up from 3.9 percent the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. Despite […]

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After a Rip-Roaring 2023, the Markets Are Taking a Breather

Note that the average fund substantially lagged the broad stock market averages. Most funds are actively managed, by professionals trying to beat the market. By contrast, broad low-cost index funds, which merely seek to mirror the markets, generally did their job well. For example, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund returned 12.3 percent for […]

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Fresh Inflation Data Shows Intact, but Bumpy, Cool-Down

Consumer price data released Thursday showed Federal Reserve officials, the White House and American households that inflation continued to slow at the end of 2023, capping a year in which the price increases bedeviling families and policymakers cooled in earnest. Prices overall climbed more quickly in December than November on a yearly basis: 3.4 percent […]

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Mortgage Rates and Inflation Could Draw Attention to the Fed This Election

This year is set to be a big one for Federal Reserve officials: They are expecting to cut interest rates several times as inflation comes down steadily, giving them a chance to dial back a two-year-long effort to cool the economy. But 2024 is also an election year — and the Fed’s expected shift in […]

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Why Donald Trump Will Soon Be Attacking the Fed

Interest rates are heading down. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of this year (at least). Why? Because there are very good reasons for the Federal Reserve, which controls short-term interest rates — that’s how it makes monetary policy — to start reversing the sharp rate hikes it […]

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