November 3rd, 2010
11:24 PM ET

Stocks rise as Fed prepares for Treasuries purchase

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Dow, Nasdaq at 2-year highs

U.S. stocks seesawed Wednesday amid a widely anticipated Republican victory and the Federal Reserve's announcement of a second round of economy-boosting asset purchases, but managed to end the session with modest gains, pushing the Dow and Nasdaq to their highest levels in over two years.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27 points, or 0.2 percent, to finish at 11,215, the highest since September 2008. The tech-heavy Nasdaq increased 7 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 2,540, highest since June 2008.

The S&P 500 rose 4 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,198, and still is shy of this year's highs above 1,200.

The Fed said it will buy $600 billion in Treasuries by the middle of next year, at the pace of $75 billion a month.

The three major indexes drifted between negative and positive territory immediately following the announcement, but posted slight gains toward the end of the session.

The Fed policy, known as quantitative easing, is designed to put downward pressure on interest rates and pump money into the economy. It is also seen as a way for the Fed to combat deflation, a debilitating cycle of falling prices and demand.

30-year yield jumps to 4% after Fed decision

Long-term Treasury yields rose Wednesday after the Fed announced a huge bond-buying plan - of mostly short-term Treasuries.

After slumping earlier in the session, the 30-year yield jumped to 4.06 percent from 3.93 percent on Tuesday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year rose to 2.62 percent from
2.55 percent Tuesday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

But most of the buying plans were concentrated in medium-term Treasuries, like five-year and seven-year notes, leading investors to rush out of longer-dated securities. While 91 percent of the Fed's purchases will be Treasuries dated up to 10 years, only 6 percent were Treasuries with maturities of more than 10 years.

"People were expecting a much more spread out execution of both long- and short- term securities, instead of just short-term," said Michael Cheah, a bond fund manager at SunAmerica. "So the knee-jerk reaction to the fact that the Fed is not buying as much of the 10s and 30s is sell."

As longer-term yields surged, shorter term yields were down slightly but unchanged from earlier in the session. The two-year yield was 0.33 percent, from 0.36 percent Tuesday, while the five-year yield slipped to 1.12 percent from 1.15 percent.

Dollar mixed after Fed launches jump-start

The U.S. dollar weakened against the euro Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced a widely anticipated plan to support the economy.

The central bank said it will buy $600 billion in Treasuries over the next eight months. The Fed also announced it will continue to reinvest an additional $250 billion to $300 billion in Treasuries with the proceeds of its earlier investments.

The goal of the purchases, part of a policy known as quantitative easing, is to put downward pressure on long-term interest rates and pump money into the economy. The plan is also intended to ward off deflation, a debilitating cycle of falling prices and demand.

The Fed also left the federal funds rate, a benchmark for interest rates on a variety of consumer and business loans, at a historic low near zero where it's been since December 2008.

The dollar has been under pressure for weeks as investors anticipated the move, which could erode the value of U.S. currency by adding to the money supply. But the move also sent a signal to investors that the Fed is willing to act as a nursemaid to the economy as long as it keeps struggling.

- reporters Hibah Yousuf and Blake Ellis contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    Told you so, as soon as the rich knew the republicans would have some control the Rich would start moving their money.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Big Game James

    Where are the conspiracy theorists who were on before the election?! People wanted to audit the federal reserve, talk about how Obama was destroying the economy. All the while the fat cats were just sitting on their money until the people they can "grease" took over. $5.00 gas anyone?

    November 4, 2010 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scottish Mama

    You noticed. Gas has been alot lower than the Bush era. Go figure. Now that the republicans have gotten keys to the hen houses, I guess the economy will take a free for all the wealthy again. No real Americans going on trips. Did you hear that? Its the working americans squeaking by or more foreclosures.

    November 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |