By CCN: The Dow and broader U.S. stock market extended losses Wednesday after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting seemed to confirm that interest rates will remain on hold for the foreseeable future, thrusting the warnings of Fed hawks to the garbage heap.
Dow, S&P 500 Pare Painful Losses
All of Wall Street’s major indexes finished lower by the end of trading, mirroring a volatile pre-market for Dow futures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by more than 120 points before paring some of its losses in the afternoon session. It would eventually settle down 100.72 points, or 0.4%, at 25,776.61.
The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks declined 0.3% to 2,856.27. Losses were primarily concentrated in primary industries, with energy stocks falling 1.5%. Shares of materials and industrials also declined sharply. On the opposite side of the ledger, utilities and health care companies rose sharply.
The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.5% to settle at 7,750.84.
Federal Reserve Stresses Patience as Fed Hawks Seethe
U.S. central bankers are unlikely to change course on monetary policy anytime soon, with many siding with Chairman Jerome Powell’s view that the recent drop in inflation was likely temporary.
“Members observed that a patient approach to determining future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate would likely remain appropriate for some time,” the minutes of the April 30-May 1 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting revealed Wednesday.
While this may have disappointed some investors looking for the resumption of ultra-low interest rates, the Fed is providing assurances that a rate hike is off the table for the remainder of 2019 and beyond. The central bank has been dovish on policy normalization since the start of 2019 after their fourth rate hike in December hastened the worst stock market collapse in nearly a decade.
The U.S. economy is performing better than virtually all of its advanced industrialized peers, but a slowdown in manufacturing, consumer spending, and housing has investors worried. All signs seem to show that the U.S. economy experienced a broad cooling at the start of the second quarter.
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