Wall St closes slightly higher after Fed policy decisions

Lloyd Doyle
September 21, 2017

Stocks are in wait-and-see mode ahead of today's FOMC statement, which will cross the wires at 2 p.m. ET today, and Janet Yellen's press conference; S&P +0.1%, Dow and Nasdaq flat.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.68 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 6,461.32.

Amazingly, it's not the.

The US volatility index ('VIX') remains unchanged at 10.15% and highlights that traders simply don't see the S&P 500 moving with any great degree in the coming 30 days. Members of the Fed's policy-setting committee are eyeing one more increase to the federal funds rate this year, likely at the December meeting. Health care stocks lagged the most, pulling down insurers, hospital operators and other companies as a Republican effort to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law appeared to gain momentum. According to the announcement, the Fed will unwind its $4.5 trillion balance sheet "gradually and predictably".

US Treasuries declined, pushing yields on the 10-year note two basis points higher to 2.22 percent, the highest in more than a month, according to Bloomberg.

"The most important thing Yellen needed to communicate to the market was that the bond sale plan and rate increases are not on autopilot", said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede in Philadelphia.

The Dow rose as advances in shares of General Electric and those of Caterpillar, recently up 2.2 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Apple and those of Nike, recently down 1 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,448.

Economic data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly to 259,000, but the data continued to be influenced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, muddying the labor market picture in the near term. The contract rose 93 cents, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $50.41 a barrel on Wednesday. J.M. Smucker shed $2.60, or 2.4 percent, to $106.91. Shares of the cereal and snack maker were down 5.8%.

Adobe fell 4.5 percent after the Photoshop maker's revenue forecast came in-line with estimates. In the fixed income space, we have seen some selling of U.S. treasuries across the curve, with the 2-year treasury now sitting at 1.40% and the 10-year at 2.24%, with the 2's vs 10's curve moving a touch higher into 83bp and again putting upside into financials.

The dollar rose to 111.50 yen from 111.47 yen on Monday.

The weakness among oil service stocks comes amid a modest decrease by the price of crude oil, with crude for November delivery slipping USD0.12 to USD50.57 a barrel. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.1 percent, while South Korea's Kospi lost almost 0.1 percent. The euro weakened to $1.1884 from $1.1892. The pickup in oil prices helped lift energy stocks.

METALS: Gold fell $21.60 to $1,294.80 an ounce. Copper slid 3 cents to $2.94 a pound.

Shares of Calgon Carbon soared 61.5 percent after Japanese chemical manufacturer Kuraray agreed to buy the carbon materials firm for $1.107 billion. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is just above the unchanged line, the German DAX Index is up by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.6 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added almost 2.0 percent coming off a national holiday on Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell almost 0.4 percent.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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