Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve announced a broad slate of programs to make sure credit flows to businesses and consumers as coronavirus safety measures cripple the economy.

Why it matters: The Fed’s announcement early Monday is the most aggressive step so far this year — and the markets responded in kind, with futures rising steeply ahead of the market's open.

Details: The Fed said its previously announced plan to purchase treasury and mortgage-backed securities — a program called quantitative easing — would be unlimited.

  • For the first time, the Fed will dip its toes into the corporate bond market by contributing to a lending facility that will be used to buy corporate bonds issued by highly rated companies.
  • The measures go beyond those used during the 2008 financial crisis.

The Fed also expanded its buying to include government-backed commercial real estate debt.

  • It will lend to investors who want to purchase se­cu­ri­ties backed by consumer debt, including auto and credit card loans.
  • In coming days, the Fed said, it will launch a program directly aimed at Main Street — to support loans to small businesses.

The state of play: Last night, amid President Trump's news conference about the status of efforts to fight COVID-19, stock futures plunged the most allowed. While the losses faded overnight, futures turned positive after the Fed’s announcement.

  • The Fed says the programs will provide $300 billion in new financing.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC Monday morning that Congress was "very close" to passing a stimulus package.

What they’re saying: “Ag­gres­sive ef­forts must be taken across the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors to limit the losses to jobs and in­comes and to pro­mote a swift re­cov­ery once the dis­rup­tions abate,” the central bank said in a statement.

Go deeper

OPEC's balancing act: increasing output against smaller demand

An off-shore oil platform in California. Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) coalition is entering the next phase of fraught market-management efforts that have repercussions for the battered U.S. oil industry.

Driving the news: The group yesterday agreed to press ahead with plans to begin increasing output as demand haltingly recovers.

More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 32 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

Why it matters: Tens of millions of jobless Americans will soon have a smaller cash cushion — as coronavirus cases surge and certain parts of the country re-enter pandemic lockdowns — barring an extension of the more generous unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month.

2 hours ago - Sports

Alumni fight to save college sports

Data: Mat Talk Online; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

242 collegiate athletic programs have been cut amid the pandemic, altering the careers and lives of thousands of student-athletes.

Yes, but: Some passionate alumni groups have opted to fight, banding together in hopes of saving the programs they helped build and continue to love.