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Fed chair Jerome Powell at a press conference in September. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate Wednesday for the third consecutive time this year, by a quarter point, to between 1.5% and 1.75%. Chairman Jerome Powell hinted the central bank would hold off on further rate cuts.

Why it matters: The Fed has set out to shield the economy from risks, including the U.S.-China trade war. But the likely pause in rate cuts means officials think the economy has enough insulation for now.

Between the lines: The new benchmark rate could be the prevailing one for the foreseeable future.

  • "We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook," Powell said at a press conference following the rate decision.
  • The Fed also removed a phrase that's been associated with interest rate cuts from its closely watched policy statement — "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion" — which market-watchers interpreted to mean that the central bank could put rate cuts on pause.

What they're saying: The Fed noted in the statement that economic activity "has been rising at a moderate rate," job gains have been "solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low."

  • Yes, but: While consumer spending is strong, "business fixed investment and exports remain weak," the central bank said.
  • The Fed also noted that inflation remained below its 2% target rate.

Two Fed officials voted against the rate cut — down from the three dissenters in September.

Go deeper: Fed’s Kashkari pushes back against Trump pressure

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing a face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.