Wall St little changed ahead of Fed's policy meeting

Wall St little changed ahead of Fed's policy meeting”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41.79 points, or 0.2%, at 22,412.59, buoyed by sharp gains in shares of McDonald's Corp.(MCD), and Pfizer Inc.(PFE).

On the data front, USA housing starts totaled 1.18 million in July, slightly above the expected 1.175 million.

INVESTOR INSIGHT: "The Fed's seemingly hawkish views on sustained lift-off in USA interest rates may be seen as a form of pressure for regional equities and could dampen prices today", said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

Jack Ablin of BMO Private Bank told AFP investors likely now expect the Fed will brush aside concerns about economic damage from back-to-back hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and raise interest rates for a third time later this year.

The Fed also revealed that it will begin shrinking its USD4.5 trillion balance sheet in October, initially allowing USD10 billion in bonds to roll off each month.

The S&P 500 Index gained as financial stocks rose ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting, but the Nasdaq slashed its sharp gains as tech stocks weakened late in the session.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1 point to 2,505 as of 3:40 p.m. The Fed also signaled a December rate increase remains on the table as the central bank embarks on an unprecedented unwind of crisis-era asset purchases that had helped to buoy markets over the past decade.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday.

In the bond market, treasuries came under pressure on the heels of the announcement from the Fed.

The Labor Department said imports prices climbed by 0.6 percent in August after edging down by 0.1 percent in July. The euro strengthened to $1.1997 from $1.1953. The PCE inflation outlook for the year was unchanged at 1.6%. Barrick Gold Corp was down 2 per cent at C$20.31, while Kinross Gold Corp gave up 3.6 per cent to end at C$5.35.

Shares in General Mills fell by 5.8% after its quarterly profit missed estimates, hurt by lower sales of its yogurts and cereals in North America.

BEYOND DISAPPOINTED: Shares in Bed Bath and Beyond plunged 16.2 percent after the home goods retailer reported that its latest quarterly sales at stores open at least a year, a key metric for retailers, fell short of analysts' forecasts. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 14 cents to $56.15 a barrel in London. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added almost 2.0 percent coming off a national holiday on Monday.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index touched its highest level since June 12, ending up 96.63 points, or 0.63 per cent, to 15,389.60 with materials the index's only major group to lose ground.

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