April 25 -Summary of business headlines: Less divided Fed keeps 2014 target, but prepared to do more; Caterpillar, Boeing latest manufacturers to top view; Apple helps Nasdaq end five-day slump. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Wall Street holds on to its strength as the Federal Reserve stays the course. Policy makers still plan to keep rates near zero until late 2014, according to a statement released after a two-day meeting. But in a later press conference, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke said he "would not hesitate" to add further stimulus if the economy needs it. Judging from the Fed's statement, though, policy makers do not think the current economic situation or the outlook for inflation warrants a new response now. The Fed has been criticized for putting the economy at risk by keeping rates extraordinary low for too long. Steven Ricchiuto of Mizuho Securities is a critic, but says: SOUNDBITE: STEVEN RICCHIUTO, CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST, MIZUHO SECURITIES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "With regard to monetary policy I think they are going down the right path. They will probably have to do more, but they don't have enough ammunition to do it, so you can't promise it, but I think they are doing the right things." The economic number of the day was not encouraging. Orders for durable goods showed their biggest one-month drop in 3 years. But that did not overshadow earnings. Caterpillar beat forecasts as U.S. companies replace older equipment. Slower economic growth in China and Brazil led the heavy-duty equipment maker to scale back expectations for the rest of the year. Boeing posted better-than-expected results and lifted its full-year guidance thanks to strong demand for commercial and military aircraft. Those earnings put investors in rally mode; The Nasdaq snapped a five-day losing streak one-day after Apple's blockbuster numbers. Strong stock market gains in Germany and France, but data showing the U.K. is back in recession limited the upside in London. Conway Gittens, Reuters.