Friday Follies

The Fed changes numbers

Every Friday afternoon at precisely 4:10, the Federal Reserve releases the money-supply figures for the previous week to an eagerly waiting financial community. Short-term interest rates often immediately shoot up or sink on the basis of that report.

The Federal Reserve has long complained that investors pay too much attention to the Friday-afternoon statistics. It argues that the weekly figures gyrate far too much to be reliable guides to the growth of the money supply. Officials also fret that the wide swings in the numbers, which can rise or fall by billions of dollars in a single week,...

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