Fed Extends Operation Twist – WSJ.com

U.S. Federal Reserve officials extended through the end of the year a program meant to drive down long-term interest rates and signaled that they were “prepared to take further action” if needed amid heightened worry about the economy’s performance.

By continuing the program, known as “Operation Twist,” the Fed will buy $267 billion in long-term Treasury bonds and notes while it sells short-term Treasurys. The program had been set to expire this month.

via Fed Extends Operation Twist – WSJ.com.

Fed Shifts Bond Portfolio – WSJ.com

The Fed is trying to ease financial conditions without taking the more controversial step of increasing the amount of money that it’s pumping into the financial system, since it will be using money already generated from other programs. A bond buying program the Fed completed in June was widely criticized internally and externally because it pumped $600 billion of newly printed money into the financial system, sparking fears of inflation……..

The more potent step of launching a new round of bond purchases that would further expand the Fed’s $2.867 trillion balance sheet remains a possibility, but inflation likely would need to slow much further to spur Fed officials to take that step……..

Economists aren’t so sure that the Fed’s latest gambit will do much to spur growth.

“The odds are ‘Operation Twist’ won’t work,” Anthony Sanders, a real-estate finance professor at George Mason University, said before the Fed action. The housing market has shown no reaction to interest rates that are already at record-low levels, he said. Freddie Mac’s latest survey finds the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 4.09%, the lowest level in more than 50 years.

via Fed Shifts Bond Portfolio – WSJ.com.