Fed minutes send Dow, Nasdaq freefalling

By JOE BEL BRUNO, AP Business Writer
2 hours, 35 minutes ago

NEW YORK – Volatility returned to Wall Street Tuesday, sending stocks plunging as investors grew more uneasy about the economy and whether the Federal Reserve will take the steps needed to prevent credit market problems from spreading further. The Dow Jones industrials fell 280 points.

The stock market found little to assuage concerns in minutes from the Fed’s last meeting, released during afternoon trading. The major indexes’ losses steepened after investors parsed the minutes for signs of a possible cut in interest rates.

There had been some hope on the Street that Fed policymakers might have sent a stronger signal they were more willing to cut interest rates to help calm turbulent market conditions. But in the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s Aug. 7 meeting, while the central bank noted the turmoil in the markets and said, “to the extent such a development could have an adverse effect on growth prospects, might require a policy response,” it didn’t discuss a cut in the benchmark federal funds rate that Wall Street has wanted.

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