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Stocks Close Lower As Fed’s Comments Spark Turbulence | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Stocks greeted the Fed’s interest-rate increase with volatile trading Wednesday, as the central bank delivered the expected hike but Chairman Jerome Powell gave the market some angst.

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Stocks initially climbed after the Fed confirmed a long-expected quarter-point rate hike. But the burst soon evaporated and indexes showed losses for a while. Stocks recovered briefly and then slid into the close, a reflection of the market’s confusion over Fed policy.

The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 each fell 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.3%. The S&P 500 made it three days in a row below the 50-day moving average, something that’s added uncertainty to the general market.

But the small-cap Russell 2000 bucked the trend, rising 0.6% at the closing bell. Volume rose from Tuesday’s levels, according to preliminary figures.

The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee signaled no rush to step up its gradual pace of interest-rate increases. Two more quarter-point rate increases are expected for the rest of this year, easing worries that one additional hike might be in the cards.

But there was a hawkish tone in some of the Fed’s observations, and Powell for the first time said the Fed expects above-target core inflation of 2.1%.

The 10-year note’s yield rose 3 basis points to 2.91%, nearing the close of 2.94% of Feb. 21, according to Tradeweb. That February level was the highest close since January 2014.

Energy was Wednesday’s leading sector, with the seven top industry groups all in the sector. A surprise drop in inventories helped send crude prices up 2.6% to $65.17 a barrel, a six-week high.

Exploration, drilling, oilfield-service and oil-machinery industry groups showed the best gains of today’s market, up as much as 8%. Several energy stocks broke out past buy points, although some patterns are deep in long-term corrections.

Whiting Petroleum (WLL) surged past the 31.80 buy point of a cup base in heavy volume. Johnson Rice initiated coverage with a buy rating and a 58 target price. The Denver-based exploration and production company remains a world away from its all-time high of 371.68 in August 2014.

Norway’s Statoil (STO) climbed past the 23.53 buy point of a cup with handle, but volume was light. Parsley Energy (PE) broke out of a cup with handle also, this one with a 27.48 buy point, in light trade.

Marathon Petroleum (MRO) cleared a nine-week cup without handle. But an earlier entry appeared at 70.78.

See Which Stocks Just Came On – And Off – IBD’s Top Stock Lists: IBD Stock Lists Update.

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