US stocks soared in the final hour of trading Tuesday after the Federal Reserve Board pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at its current level of zero to 0.25 percent at least until mid-2013.
The guarantee from the central bank of at least two more years of virtually free cash for banks and corporations, combined with a prognosis of mass unemployment for the indefinite future and assurances from the White House of deeper cuts in social programs, sparked a buying spree that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average almost 4 percent higher for the day.
The Dow gained 429 points (+ 3.98 percent). The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 53 points (+4.74 percent) and the Nasdaq Composite index shot up 124 points (+5.29 percent).The latest poll by Reuters - Ipsos found that 73% of Americans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Can you blame them?
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday: