March 15, 2020 — The Federal Reserve surprised markets again and took emergency measures on Sunday night, March 15, including cutting rates to zero and a plan to purchase $700 billion worth of Treasuries and mortgages in the coming months. Late in the day the Fed announced the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) conducted an emergency meeting in lieu of their scheduled meeting later in the week.
March 10, 2020—The stock market and economic outlooks are changing rapidly. Over the past few days we have witnessed several developments that led us to downgrade our outlook for the economy and markets and moved a 2020 recession into our base case. However, with hysteria evident everywhere from the floor of the NY Stock Exchange to the toilet paper aisle of Costco, we would encourage clients not to panic.
March 3, 2020—The Federal Reserve cut their short-term interest rate target by 50 basis points to a target range of 1.0–1.25%, the lowest since December 2017, in response to the economic risk coming from the spread of the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. The next scheduled Fed meeting was not until two weeks from now, on March 17-18, so this was done as an emergency meeting, most likely via conference call. Emergency meetings like this are rare, but not unprecedented.