>> In the face of searing criticism from President Trump, the US Federal Reserve Wednesday hiking interest rates for the fourth time this year, and forecasting two more rate hikes to come in 2019. Stocks slumped on the news as some investors had hoped the Fed would blink and hold off on more rate hikes for now.
The Dow closing at its lowest level since November 2017, with the Dow transports entering bear market territory. The Fed's decision likely to anger Trump who has repeatedly attacked the Central Bank's tightening this year as damaging to the economy. Just Tuesday tweeting quote, I hope the people over at the Fed will read today's Wall Street Journal editorial before they make yet another mistake.
At a press conference Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell was asked if he's worried about the president's tweets.>> I'm not worried on the first question because I know and everyone who works at the Fed knows Ii that we're gonna do our jobs the way we've always done them.
>> Jonathan Spicer covers the Fed for Reuters.>> Part of the message is today was that the Fed isn't really going to be pushed around by the White House or the markets, really. We saw the market reaction which was a negative one. We don't really know what people might be thinking within the White House but it is unusual criticism for the US Central Bank to be be dealing with.
>> For years, the Fed held rates at virtually zero to help the economy recover from the devastation of the financial crisis. But now the Fed is worried about the next downturn and wants to make sure that it can respond if the economy slides into recession.>> Between the lines, what the Fed is trying to do here is gain some ammunition to prepare itself for the next downturn, whenever that may come.
While at the same time, not causing that downturn. You actually hear of some federal policymakers say explicitly that they want to be able to cut rates in the face of a recession. In other to be able to do that, they need to gradually get them up to some level where it will actually be meaningful.
>> But for now, the Central Bank says the economy will keep growing in 2019, but at a slower rate than this year.