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Wall Street sees past Fed’s lower rate hike to finish in red

Reuters
Wall Street sees past Fed’s lower rate hike to finish in red

STOCKS. A trader works on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, December 14, 2022.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finishes down 0.4%, the S&P 500 loses 0.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite drops 0.76% on Wednesday, December 14

Wall Street stocks dropped on Wednesday, December 14, while Treasury yields were flat and the dollar volatile, after the US Federal Reserve announced that it would raise interest rates by half a percentage point but projected additional increases by the end of 2023, a rise in unemployment, and a near stalling of economic growth.

“The inflation data received so far in October and November show a welcome reduction…but it will take substantially more evidence to give confidence inflation is on a sustained downward path,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a press conference.

The US consumer price index increased 0.1% last month, 0.2 percentage point slower than economists had expected. In the 12 months through November, headline CPI climbed 7.1% – its slowest pace in about a year. US import prices also fell for a fifth straight month in November. And British inflation also moderated more than anticipated in November, data on Wednesday showed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.4%, the S&P 500 lost 0.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.76%. The MSCI All World stock index fell 0.2%.

“The Fed is taking away the punch bowl just as the party was getting started,” Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, said in an email.

“Despite a lower-than-expected CPI inflation report yesterday, the Fed’s statement today signals that they are going to be even more restrictive than they had previously indicated.”

While the dollar index initially jumped on the Fed news, trading was choppy and was last down nearly 0.5% on the day. The euro was up 0.44% to $1.0677, the Japanese yen strengthened 0.19% versus the greenback, and sterling was last trading at $1.2425, up 0.57% on the day.

European stocks were flat, with the continent-wide Stoxx 600 down 0.02% after rising 1.3% in the previous session.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose nearly 1%, with easing Chinese COVID-19 curbs boosting sentiment.

“The expected 50-basis-point hike in rates is not what is causing the sell-off in the market,” Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial in Charlottesville, said in an email. “Rather it is dot plot expectations that the Fed will hold rates throughout 2023, and not begin rate cuts until 2024.”

US Treasury yields were little changed to slightly lower in choppy trading after the Fed news. The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasuries rose 2 basis points to 3.481% after tumbling 11 basis points on Tuesday, December 13.

Oil powers higher

In commodities, oil settled up more than $2 a barrel after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency forecast a rebound in demand over the course of next year and as US interest rate hikes are expected to ease further alongside slowing inflation.

US crude settled up $1.94 at $77.28 per barrel and Brent finished $2.02 higher at $82.70 per barrel.

Expectations for a less aggressive monetary policy by the Fed also helped gold prices hold above the $1,800 per ounce pivot. Spot gold dropped 0.2% to $1,807.65 an ounce.

Bitcoin was flat at around $17,774 following the arrest of FTX exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who was accused by US prosecutors of fraud. – Rappler.com

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