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WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve chose not to wait for its next scheduled Federal Open Market Committee set for next month to cut interest rates. The Fed moved quickly in wake of the terrorist attacks, reducing rates by 50 basis points on Sept. 17, bringing the target for short-term interest rates to 3% and marking the eighth cut of the year. All eyes were on the stock market last week which opened for the first time on Sept. 17 since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. In its customary statement on any rate cuts, the Fed said that even without the tragic attacks, signs were there to cut rates. “Even before the tragic events of last week, employment, production, and business spending remained weak, and last week’s events have the potential to damp spending further. Nonetheless, the long-term prospects for productivity growth and the economy remain favorable and should become evident once the unusual forces restraining demand abate,” stated the Fed. The Fed’s cut wasn’t enough to bolster investor confidence in the first day of trading since the markets closed. The Dow was down 684 points, the largest point drop in history, however at 7%, far from the largest percentage decline.

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