Stocks Notch Gains on Wednesday 12/11 16:05
Wall Street capped a wobbly day Wednesday with modest gains for stocks,
snapping a two-day losing streak for the S&P 500.
(AP) -- Wall Street capped a wobbly day Wednesday with modest gains for
stocks, snapping a two-day losing streak for the S&P 500.
The market shook off a mixed start after the Federal Reserve announced it is
would be leaving interest rates unchanged this month and signaled that it
expects to leave them alone in 2020.
The central bank had been expected to leave its benchmark interest rate
unchanged this month after lowering it three times this year in a bid to shield
the economy from slowing global growth and the fallout of U.S. trade conflicts.
Investor jitters over whether the U.S. and China will be able to avert a new
escalation in their trade war has made for choppy trading this week, pulling
major indexes lower.
Wall Street is hoping that both sides can avoid a new round of tariffs
scheduled to kick in Sunday on Chinese goods that include phones, laptops and
other popular products.
"We're in a wait-and-see mode going into Friday to see if we have any more
clarity on the trade tariffs that go into effect on Sunday," said Keith
Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. "The market is kind of
sitting on its hands right now."
The S&P 500 index gained 9.11 points, or 0.3%, to 3,141.63. The benchmark
index is still on track for a slight weekly loss.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back after being slightly lower
most of the day. It rose 29.58 points, or 0.1%, to 27,911.30. The Nasdaq added
37.87 points, or 0.4%, to 8,654.05.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks edged up 0.21 points, or
less than 0.1%, to 1,631.93.
Despite the wobbly week in the market, the major indexes on track for strong
gains this year. The Nasdaq is leading the way, with a gain of 30.4%. The S&P
500 is now up 25.3% and the Dow is up nearly 20%.
The Fed's decision to stay put on rates this month leaves its benchmark
rate, which influences many consumer and business loans, in a low range of 1.5%
In a sign of the Fed's confidence about the economy, its latest policy
statement dropped a phrase it had previously used that referred to
"uncertainties" surrounding the economic outlook. That suggests that the Fed is
less worried about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war or overseas
developments, and that it views the U.S. economy as generally healthy.
Technology and industrial stocks led the gains Wednesday. Skyworks Solutions
climbed 4.7% and United Rentals rose 2.1%.
Banks and real estate companies lagged the market. U.S. Bancorp slid 1.2%
and mall owner Simon Property Group lost 2.4%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.79% from 1.83% late Tuesday.
Some companies made big moves after releasing earnings reports. Ollie's
Bargain Outlet surged 15% after reporting surprisingly good third-quarter
profit and revenue. GameStop plunged 15.1% after issuing a surprising loss and
cutting its profit forecast.
Home Depot dropped 1.8% after giving investors a weak sales forecast.
Shares in American Eagle Outfitters slumped 6.5% after the clothing chain
reported third-quarter results that were largely in line with Wall Street's
expectations, but noted it saw softer demand for certain apparel categories.
Chevron fell skidded 1.4% after the energy company warned investors about a
potential charge of up to $11 billion because of lower long-term prices for oil
and natural gas. The huge fourth-quarter write-down underscores the challenge
posed by rising production that has prevented energy prices from increasing
sharply during a time of increasing global demand.
Benchmark crude oil fell 48 cents to settle at $58.76 a barrel. Brent crude
oil, the international standard, dropped 62 cents to close at $63.72 a barrel.
Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.63 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 4
cents to $1.93 per gallon. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $2.24 per 1,000 cubic
Gold rose $6.80 to $1,469.40 per ounce, silver rose 14 cents to $16.74 per
ounce and copper fell 2 cents to $2.78 per pound.
The dollar fell to 108.51 Japanese yen from 108.73 yen on Tuesday. The euro
strengthened to $1.1140 from $1.1096.
Stock indexes in Europe closed broadly higher.