Fed cuts rates by half a point

The Federal Open Market Committee voted on Wednesday to lower rates by 50 basis points to 3%.

The committee said: "Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households. Moreover, recent information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labour markets."

The cut "should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity," the committee said. But, in a