A Halloween Treat from the Fed

The central bank's moderate Oct. 31 rate cut aims to ward off a truly scary creaturerecession

Yes, the Federal Reserve handed out the monetary candy that the markets were expecting on Halloween, a quarter-point cut in the federal funds rate target to 4.5% from 4.75%. No, it wasn't an easy decision. Central bankers are notoriously reluctant to cut rates too far, and the latest easing has at least the potential to overstimulate an economy that's already running at a brisk pace.

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