Even unlimited quantitative easing from the Fed can’t buoy markets

The U.S. Federal Reserve was supposed to be out of ammunition after it cut its benchmark interest rate to near-zero last week. Market watchers and economists warned there wasn’t much else the central bank could do to stop a downturn so destructive it now has some pundits worrying about a depression.

On Monday, the Fed revealed it still had more than one bullet left in the chamber. The only problem is that none of them seems capable of helping markets find a bottom.

Monday’s moves, announced before markets opened, included the removal of a self-imposed US$700 billion cap on its quantitative easing plan, essentially licensing it to buy as much government debt as it feels is needed. The central bank also said that, for the first time, it would buy corporate bonds.

Each of the Fed’s emergency interest rate cuts have been met with deep selloffs — and the market

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Mexican president vows to bail out the poor, not big companies, in coronavirus response By Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he would focus his response to the coronavirus outbreak on helping the poor rather than major companies as the virus spreads in Mexico, and that he would unveil more details on Tuesday.

Officials counted 367 cases on Monday, up from 316 the day before, with a total of four deaths, including two people who had diabetes.

Although the government has yet to take drastic measures to slow the contagion, such as issuing travel bans or requiring self-isolation, it has banned large events, suspended classes in primary schools and recommended people keep distance from others. Already, small businesses have begun to reel from the impact across the country, where millions live in poverty.

“If we have to rescue someone, who do we have to rescue? The poor,” Lopez Obrador told his daily news conference.

“No more rescues in

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Amazon, Walmart, eBay pushed by states to stop price gougers

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Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and other large online sellers were urged by state law enforcement officials to crack down on price gouging that preys on panic over the coronavirus pandemic amid surging complaints by consumers.

The attorneys general of New York and California called on the companies Friday to take action as 6,000 complaints have poured in to authorities across the U.S. in the past month, with outrage expressed at everything from $80 hand sanitizer to a 50% hike in rice prices.

“Price gouging during a time of national emergency is not only disgraceful, it is illegal,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Large online marketplaces have a responsibility to the public to take immediate and vigorous steps to eliminate predatory behavior, which they know is … Read More