An intensification of the housing correction and increased strains in financial markets prompted the Federal Reserve to lower key short-term interest rates today, the third consecutive meeting since September it has taken such steps. The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee lowered its target rate for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, to 4.25 percent. In a related action, the Fed's board of governors approved a 25 -basis-point decrease in the discount rate, to 4.75 percent. "Incoming information suggests that economic growth is slowing, reflecting the intensification of the housing correction and some softening in business and consumer spending," the committee said in a statement explaining the decision. "Moreover, strains in financial markets have increased in recent weeks. Today's action, combined with the policy actions taken earlier, should help promote moderate growth over time." On Sept. 18, similar concerns prompted the Fed to shave 50 basis points off the fe...
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