The U.S. economy powered its way to a respectable growth rate of 3.5 percent from July through September, outpacing most of the developed world and on track to extend the momentum through the end of the year and beyond. It turns out the world's biggest economy did a lot of things right in the wake of the Great Recession that set it apart from other major nations.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, but remained at historically low levels that signal a strengthening job market. Weekly applications increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Stock markets mostly rose in Asia but fell in Europe on Thursday after the Federal Reserve said it will end a stimulus program that was as massive as it was controversial. The dollar strengthened after the U.S. central bank hinted at an eventual interest rate hike.
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions improved somewhat further, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate.
An optimistic statement from the Federal Reserve sent the dollar up and gold prices down Wednesday as traders prepared for rising interest rates. Major U.S. stock indexes ended with a slight loss after the Fed confirmed that it was shutting down a bond-buying program because the economy no longer needs as much help.
The wild swings of the stock market have sucked the momentum from Alibaba's world-record-smashing public debut earlier this fall, bringing the IPO market to a crawl and possibly ending a hot streak that was expected to continue through the end of the year. Since mid-September, when IPO activity peaked with the help of Alibaba's $25 billion deal, 29 companies, including four from the Bay Area, have withdrawn or postponed their initial public offerings, according to market intelligence firm Ipreo.
The Federal Reserve plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low to support a US job market that's improving but still isn't fully healthy and to help boost unusually low inflation. The Fed on Wednesday reiterated its plan to maintain its benchmark short-term rate near zero "for a considerable time."
The Federal Reserve announced the end of its bond-buying program Wednesday, marking the close of a six-year effort to stimulate the economy. The decision reflects how much the economy has improved since the recession.
A comparison of the Federal Reserve's statements from its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and its meeting September 16-17: Now: The Fed "continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability. Accordingly, the Committee decided to conclude its asset purchase program this month."
The Toronto stock market registered a small gain Wednesday with all eyes on the U.S. Federal Reserve and its mid-afternoon announcement on interest rates. The S&P/TSX composite index was up 15.73 points to 14,639.98 amid a heavy day for earnings reports from a variety of heavyweights in the resource sector, including Teck Resources , Barrick Gold and Suncor Energy .