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Today the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee announced that the central bank would raise its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points.

Stocks rallied strongly after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell seemed to take off the table the 75 basis point increase in June and July that financial markets were convinced was in the cards.

Powell said rate increases of 50 basis points are under active consideration for the next couple of meetings, while adding that hikes of 75 basis points aren’t something that the Fed is actively considering.

The vote by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee to raise interest rates by 50 basis was unanimous.

The committee also decided to start running down the Fed’s portfolio of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities in June at an initial combined monthly pace of $47.5 billion. The reduction in the Fed balance sheet would pick up to a pace of $95 billion a month over three months. This decision was also not as aggressive as some on Wall Street feared. The thought yesterday was that the Fed would begin the run down at a $95 billion rate immediately in June.

As of the May 4 close in New York the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 2.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 2.81%. The NASDAQ Composite was higher by 3.19% and the NASDAQ 100 was ahead 3.41%. The small cap Russell 2000 had climbed 2.69%.