By Ann Saphir
SAN RAFAEL Calif. (Reuters) – Comedians, politicians and several generations of fans collectively mourned on Tuesday the death of Robin Williams, the actor famous for his frenetic and freewheeling comedy whose apparent suicide at age 63 prompted an outpouring of tributes.
Hollywood actors and Washington leaders alike declared themselves heartbroken by Williams’ death on Monday at his home near Tiburon, north of San Francisco, where he was discovered unconscious and not breathing on Monday. He had been suffering from severe depression recently, his publicist said.
US job openings rate highest since recession.
SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two top Federal Reserve officials known for their hawkish policy views said Friday they believed the U.S. economy was ready for interest rate hikes sooner than many expect, with one saying he thought rate hikes should start this year.
Fed policy, which has included keeping short-term borrowing costs near zero since December 2008, “remains well behind what I consider to be appropriate given our goals,” Charles Plosser, president of the Philadelphia Fed, said in a statement.
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy statement, unchanged for the last four months, will probably stay that way until at least September for one main reason: slow wage growth.
Everything from job growth and inflation to manufacturing and retail sales are stronger now that U.S. economic growth has rebounded from a brutal winter. Some employers are even complaining about a lack of skilled workers, and surveys are showing businesses boosting compensation or planning to do so.
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors may be ignoring subtle warnings from the Federal Reserve that a rate rise may come sooner than they think, setting the stage for another painful market contraction much like last year’s “taper tantrum.”
Catching investors off guard is the last thing U.S. central bankers want to do, which helps explain their repeated recent warnings over complacency in financial markets, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s pointed comments this week about banks and others building up dangerous “interest rate risk.”
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve is “likely” to start raising interest rates gradually early next year and should begin shrinking its massive balance sheet in October to signal its confidence in the recovery, a top Fed official said on Wednesday.
“Now, I may be more confident that the economy is improving than some of my colleagues, but it’s pretty hard to refute the data right now,” Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told reporters after a speech at the University of Southern California. “And then once we are really sure… as I said, it’s like duck-hunting, you have to shoot ahead of the mallard, you don’t shoot where it is…that’s when we talk about rates and short-term rates.”
SUN VALLEY Idaho (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will probably need to keep interest rates near zero for at least another year, a top Fed official said on Monday, even as he expressed optimism the economy is well on its way to health.
“As things get better we can kind of get back to our normal approach to policy,” San Francisco Fed President John Williams told members of the Utah and Montana Bankers Association, predicting full employment and normal inflation by the “early part” of 2016.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Whether U.S. inflation next year rises above or remains stuck below the Federal Reserve’s 2-percent target will depend in large part on how easily the long-term unemployed find work, a study published on Monday by the San Francisco Fed suggests.
As long as a strengthening economy means better job prospects for all workers, even those who have been unsuccessfully looking for six months or more, inflation looks set to stay well below 2 percent all next year, the study shows.
By Ann Saphir
(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve can reasonably wait to raise interest rates until mid-2015 without risking an undesirable rise in inflation, an influential Fed policymaker said on Tuesday.
“We think we can get the unemployment rate considerably lower and still not have an inflation problem,” William Dudley, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, told a Puerto Rico accounting group.