The divided vote and subsequent policy statement from the Fed offered few indications that further interest rate reductions lay ahead.
Stocks fell on the heels of the monetary policy decision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 200 points, or 0.8%, shortly after the announcement, before recovering its losses. The S&P 500 slid as much as 0.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell as much as 1.1%.
The president had taken shots at Powell as recently as Monday, when he said Powell and the Fed “don’t have a clue.”
Trump’s tweet after the rate cut Wednesday was no exception. “Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” Trump tweeted, adding that Powell was “a terrible communicator!”
The president was apparently looking for a much larger cut; he had called for the Fed to bring interest rates “down to ZERO, or less,” just last week.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Powell maintained that the central bank is “fully committed to pursuing our goals of maximum employment and stable prices.”
The Fed, Powell said, will “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” of the economy.
Asked about the morale of the central bank in light of Trump’s hectoring, Powell said, “In terms of the morale of the institution, I’d say it’s very high. We’re very unified. We feel we’re doing the best job we can serving the American people.”
Fears of a coming recession have been on the rise as the U.S. economy’s longest-ever bull market appears to be slowing by some measures and as Trump’s ongoing trade war with China continues to spook investors.
“Trade policy’s not the business of the Fed,” Powell said. But “trade policy is something that’s weighing on the outlook of the economy,” Powell said.
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