Stocks are sharply higher after the Federal Reserve decided against reducing its stimulus program for the U.S. economy. The Fed says it will maintain the pace of its bond purchases because it thinks the economy still needs the support. The Fed says it decided to hold off on slowing the $85 billion a month in bond purchases to see more conclusive evidence that the recovery will be sustained.
- The Federal Reserve has a more downbeat outlook on the U.S. economy for 2013 and 2014 than it did three months ago. The Fed predicts that the economy will grow just 2 to 2.3 percent this year, down from its previous forecast in June of 2.3 to 2.6 percent growth. And it predicts next year's economic growth will be a barely healthy 3 percent. The Fed's policymakers don't expect the 7.3 percent unemployment rate to dip much more this year, but they predict it will fall as low as 6.4 percent next year.
- Federal regulators are moving toward requiring public companies to bring to light the difference in pay between their CEOs and ordinary employees. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 today to propose a rule that would compel companies to report that information publicly. Companies would have to report the ratio between their chief executive's annual compensation and the median pay of employees. Business interests vigorously oppose the requirement. The SEC has opened the proposal to public comment for 60 days.
- President Barack Obama is asking some of the nation's top corporate executives to use their influence with Congress to avoid a potentially damaging confrontation over the nation's debt ceiling. Obama told members of the Business Roundtable that the economic recovery would be hurt if lawmakers fail to pass a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. After that, Congress must find a way to raise the current $16.7 trillion borrowing limit, which is expected to hit its ceiling sometime in October.
- Internet radio leader Pandora has won a court battle with the music publishing society known as ASCAP that could help it lower its royalty payments. Pandora pays 4.3 percent of its revenue in songwriter royalties to groups including ASCAP, which distributes them to major publishers. Starting two years ago, major publishers began to withdraw rights from Pandora, forcing it to reach separate deals. A federal judge in New York says such withdrawals violate the conditions ASCAP has acted under since a 1941 agreement to prevent anticompetitive behavior.