U.S. stocks close slightly lower after Fed raises rates and maintains outlook

U.S. stocks ended with slight losses on Wednesday, as investors digested an interest-rate hike and the latest commentary from the Federal Reserve.

Based on preliminary figures, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45 points, or 0.2%, to 24,682. The S&P 500 lost 5 points to 2,712, a decline of 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 19 points, or 0.3%, to 7,345.

Trading was volatile after the Fed’s statement and a subsequent press conference by Chairman Jerome Powell, with major indexes fluctuating between positive and break-even territory.

The U.S. central bank raised interest rates for the sixth time since the end of 2015, as had been widely expected, and it stuck to its prior forecast of three rate hikes in 2018. Some investors had expected a more aggressive pace, with four hikes this year. However, the outlook for 2019 did move up; the Fed expects three rate hikes in 2019, rather than two.

A standout of the day was the Russell 2000 which rose 0.8%, easily outperforming the other major indexes. The index of small-capitalization shares was seen as supported by its heavier weighting toward financial stocks, which benefit from environments with higher rates. The Financial Select Sector SPDR rose 0.6%.

Source: Marketwatch

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European markets lower as Fed considers interest rate hike

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down by 0.6 percent, with all major bourses in negative territory.

Europe’s basic resources recovered from losses earlier in the day, rallying over 1 percent in the afternoon. They had previously been weighed down amid heightened concerns of a global trade war. President Donald Trump is widely expected to unveil up to $ 60 billion in import duties on Chinese goods by the end of the trading week. Investors are anxious the looming charges could escalate into a full-blown trade war, threatening global economic growth.

Oil and gas also performed well, up 0.7 percent, with Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa topping the sector.

Source: CNBC

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Tokyo Stocks Open Lower After Tech Sell-Off on Wall St

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Tuesday after a Facebook data breach scandal sent US stocks sharply down.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.79 percent or 169.27 points to 21,311.63 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.66 percent or 11.43 points at 1,708.54.

Source : AFP

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