Fed Seen Extending Operation Twist

Program aims to lower borrowing costs by extending the average maturity of the central bank’s portfolio.

The Federal Reserve will probably decide today to expand Operation Twist beyond $400 billion to spur growth and buy protection against a deeper crisis in Europe, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents in a June 18 poll said the Fed will prolong the program, which seeks to lower borrowing costs by extending the average maturity of the securities in the central bank’s portfolio. The current program ends this month.

Bonds, Stocks

Treasuries returned 3.3 percent from the end of March to June 18, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Treasury Master index, amid concern Europe’s debt crisis was worsening and U.S. growth was slowing. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 4.1 percent, after taking account of reinvested dividends.

Monthly Employment

Monthly employment gains have decelerated from a high this year of 275,000 in January. U.S. payrolls rose 69,000 in May after a 77,000 increase in April, according to data from the Labor Department. The jobless rate climbed to 8.2 percent in May from 8.1 percent the month before.

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