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Another record day for the Dow after the Fed Reserve hikes rates as expected

No surprises as the Federal Reserve sticks to earlier projections for 2018
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Her last press conference as Fed Chair ....
  • Dow Jones hits new highs

  • S&P 500 closes down after hitting intraday highs

  • Federal Reserve hikes rates for last time this year

  • Central Bank lifts US GDP 2018 forecast to 2.5% from 2.1% 

CLOSE

US stocks continued to climb higher and chalking new records after the Federal Reserve moved to raise interest rates by 25 percentage points as expected but failed to give a fresh insight into its views on inflation.

The Dow Jones closed off highs, up 80.70 points at 24,631.77. It hit an intraday high of 24,666. The S&P 500 Index reversed its gains, closing down 1.26 points at 2,668.57, off a high of 2,672.

The Nasdaq gained 13.48 points at 6,889.02.

The November CPI number, up 0.4%, however sent bond yields and the dollar lower on dismay that the core inflation rose less than expected by 0.1%.

 

 

"There were really no surprises," said Eric Gree, a senior portfolio manager and director of research at Penn Capital Management said.

The main gainers were industrial and consumer stocks, while financials capped gains.

CenturyLink Inc (NYSE:CTL) lost gains recorded earlier, closing 0.16% up at US$16.80, after hitting a high of US$16.96. Morgan Stanley's analysts had raised their price target on its shares. 

21st Century Fox Inc (NYSE:FOX) which was done most of the day, edged into positive territory, closing up 0.16% at US$32.17. It had fallen as slow as 4% earlier over its potential Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) deal.

Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) erased earlier gains, losing 0.01% at US$148.77 while 3M Co also lost 0.03% at US$239.00.

On banks, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) gained 0.21% while JP Morgan & Co also recorded an uptick, closing up by 0.11%.

Oil was off 0.77% at US$56.65.

AFTER FEDERAL RESERVE DECISION

Stocks continued to extend gains on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the last time this year - all as expected. The central bank however did revise its 2018 GDP forecast, lifting it to 2.5% from its previous estimate of 2.1%.

The Dow Jones was up 0.56% or 136.99 at 24,627.95 while the S&P 500 gained 0.23% or up 6.15 at 2,668.15.

The Nasdaq also was on the uptrend, up 0.39% at 6,882.52.

Fed chair Janet Yellen's press conference is currently taking place.

MID-SESSION

The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 were trading in record territory, helped by industrial stocks, Boeing Co, Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co. 

The Dow Jones was up 0.43% or 104.07 points at 24,608.92 while the S&P 500 edged up 2.94 points at 2,666.11.

The Nasdaq was also moving higher, up 15.99 points at 6,877.28.

Heavyweight Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) gained 3.44% while Boeing was up 1.6%. Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NYSE:FOX) lost 3.81% on concerns over its deal with Disney.

Crude was down 0.51% at US$56.87. 

OPEN

Wall Street hit record highs as the focus was on the Fed's expected final rate hike for the year. The Dow Jones gained 0.46%, up 113.46 points at 24,603.14, moving into record territory.

The S&P also moved ahead, setting an intrada high. It was up 0.25% or up 6.58 points at 2,669.67.  The NASDAQ also followed suit, up 0.45%, up 29.56 points at 6,887.03.

The Brent was down 0.63% at US$56.78

The much-awaited decision by the Federal Reserve is due at 2pm Eastern Time. The market is expecting the rates to be hiked by 25 basis points and traders will be looking for any comments or hints on the pace of tightening in 2018.

Janet Yellen, who is chairing her last policy meeting as chair, will give her final news conference as the central bank chief.

 

 

Proteostasis Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PTI) dipped 7.11% after announcing plans to sell 7 million shares of its stock.

Nordic American Tankers Ltd (NYSE:NAT) slipped 25.34% ahead of the bell after telling the market before the bell that it plans to sell US$100mln shares via a public offering as part of its recapitalisation plans.

PREVIEW

The main focus for Wednesday will inevitably be on the last Federal Reserve policy decision of 2017, which is widely-anticipated to lead to another hike in interest rates as the US economy continues to grow, unemployment falls and inflation inches closer towards the 2% target.

In minutes from the Fed’s November meeting, policymakers said another increase in the central bank's target range would probably be needed “in the near term” provided the economy remains on track, though it also warned that inflation may remain below target for longer than expected.

But Fed chair Janet Yellen, who will be replaced by Jerome Powell when she retires in February, has predicted inflation will soon rebound and thinks the central bank should continue to gradually raise rates.

“The FOMC will almost certainly hike by 25 basis points at the upcoming December meeting,” according to analysts at UBS.

“Minutes for the November meeting and recent Fedspeak show growing concern about inflation among FOMC participants, but not enough to stay their hand at this meeting.”

Ahead of the market open, US stock futures were down after Democrat Doug Jones snatched the Alabama Senate seat in a highly contentious election, defeating Republican Roy Moore.

His win will narrow the Republican Senate majority, giving it a 51-49 margin, raising concerns that the tax reform bill may be a little more difficult to pass through the house.

 


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