"The Fed Wanted to Nip the Panic in the Bud"

S&P's Michael Englund says the big Jan. 3 rate cut shows Greenspan & Co. are in a hurry to keep a crisis mindset from setting in -- and that more cuts could come soon

Just when you think you know what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is going to do next, he surprises everyone. On Jan. 3, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates, reducing the key fed funds rate -- the rate at which banks make overnight loans -- by one-half percentage point, to 6.0%. Stocks exploded on the positive news, triggering trading curbs.

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