US authorities focused on stability, First Republic as Fed meets

By Nupur Anand, Lananh Nguyen and Andrea Shalal

(Reuters) - A scramble by troubled U.S. lender First Republic Bank to secure a capital infusion kept worries about the broader banking sector alive on Wednesday as authorities considered steps to further strengthen financial stability.

While recent market turmoil has eased, the Federal Reserve's meeting later in the day is now a major focus for investors, with traders split over whether the U.S. central bank will be forced to pause its hiking cycle to ensure financial stability.

The Fed's relentless rate hikes to rein in inflation have been partly blamed for sparking the biggest meltdown in the banking sector since the 2008 financial crisis.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which sank under the weight of bond-related losses due to surging interest rates, kicked off a tumultuous 10 days for banks which culminated, for now, in the 3 billion Swiss franc ($3.2 billion) Swiss regulator-engineered takeover of Credit Suisse by rival UBS on Sunday.