The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee ended its two-day monthly confab on Wednesday with a decision to leave well-enough alone.
As a result, it will maintain the current federal funds rate at between 0.25% and 0.50%, although there was one vote on the committee, from Governor Esther L. George, who wanted to raise the target range for the rate to 1/2% to 3/4%.
The language of the FOMC statement was slightly softer than that issued after its March meeting, particularly as pertains to the global economy. After expressing concern about risks in the global outlook last month, this statement said only, "The Committee continues to closely monitor inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments."
There was little in the statement that could provide clues to what the committee may do with rates at its next meeting in June. There was no indication that the group was abandoning its stance from earlier this year that further rate hikes might be warranted this year. It did acknowledge recent data suggesting uncertainty in the domestic economy.
"Labor market conditions have improved further even as growth in economic activity appears to have slowed," said the statement. "Growth in household spending has moderated, although households’ real income has risen at a solid rate and consumer sentiment remains high. Since the beginning of the year, the housing sector has improved further but business fixed investment and net exports have been soft. A range of recent indicators, including strong job gains, points to additional strengthening of the labor market. Inflation has continued to run below the Committee’s 2% longer-run objective, partly reflecting earlier declines in energy prices and falling prices of non-energy imports."
Markets reacted positively, with the Dow up 58.11 to 18048 and the S&P up 1.84 to 2093.13 in trading shortly after the Fed announcement.