STATE OF BUSINESS: Change in Policy

After 2½ years of tramping hard on the nation's credit brakes, the Federal Reserve last week lifted its foot. FRB Chairman William McChesney Martin Jr. and his board approved a cut in the discount rate from 3½% to 3% by Federal Reserve Banks in New York, Richmond, Atlanta and St. Louis. The remaining eight districts were expected to follow soon. Next day the stock market reversed its bearish decline of recent weeks (see below), and U.S. businessmen everywhere breathed a sigh of relief.

Under different circumstances the Federal Reserve might have chosen some less spectacular method, such as open-market operations...

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