Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today the central bank is prepared to help stimulate the U.S. economy through continued interest rate cuts. The following is an excerpt from his prepared remarks:
“We stand ready to take additional substantive action as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks.”
It is now widely anticipated the central bank will cut the federal funds rate by one-half a percentage point at its next meeting on January 30. Such a cut would put the rate at 3.75 percent, the lowest level in nearly two and a half years.
The stock markets reacted positively to the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 117.78 points (+0.92%), the NASDAQ was up 13.97 points (+0.56%), and the S&P 500 finished the day 11.20 points higher (+0.79).