Though nothing new was expected from the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day regular meeting last week, you can bet investors had at least one ear tuned to it—just in case. In the event, not much happened, and it couldn’t have gone more smoothly if it had been scripted. Wait, it was in a way. No policy news emerged from the FOMC meeting, and that was the way stock markets liked it.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his view Wednesday that the U.S. economy faces a long road to recovery. He also reiterated the FED would maintain “aggressive” measures to support the economy. While that seems redundant, you can bet markets would have fallen if not for the repeated guidance.

That’s doubly true, given the awful US second quarter GDP news. The Commerce Department said U.S. gross domestic product fell at a seasonally and inflation adjusted 32.9% annual rate in the second quarter, or 9.5% compared with the prior quarter. The figures were the steepest declines in more than 70 years of record-keeping. I doubt people alive today ever imagined that they would experience such a contraction.

And the Labor Department’s workers applying for initial unemployment benefits rose for the second straight week—by 12,000 to 1.43 million in the week ended July...

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