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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

Updated 28 mins ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by the Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

2 hours ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.