US stocks, dollar slip on Fed’s nod to jittery markets

By: | Published: January 28, 2016 7:30 AM

Wall Street stocks and the dollar fell on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve held U.S. interest rates unchanged, as expected, and said it was closely monitoring global economic and financial developments.

US stock marketWall Street stocks and the dollar fell on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve held U.S. interest rates unchanged, as expected, and said it was closely monitoring global economic and financial developments. (AP)
US stock marketWall Street stocks and the dollar fell on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve held U.S. interest rates unchanged, as expected, and said it was closely monitoring global economic and financial developments. (AP)

Wall Street stocks and the dollar fell on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve held U.S. interest rates unchanged, as expected, and said it was closely monitoring global economic and financial developments.

The Fed’s acknowledgement of risks to the domestic economy, with oil prices hitting 12-year lows and jitters about Chinese growth, revived some safe-haven bids for gold and U.S. Treasury debt prices.

Oil futures clung to earlier gains, brushing off the Fed’s more cautious outlook since its December policy meeting when the central bank raised rates for the first time in nearly a decade.

“The committee is closely monitoring global economic and financial developments and is assessing their implications for the labor market and inflation,” the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s policy-setting group said in a statement.

Analysts and investors said the statement signaled U.S. policymakers have scaled back their view on the chances of a rate hike at its next meeting in March.

“I’d certainly say that the statement leans in the dovish side of neutral, they walked back a few things that they had in the December statement,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

U.S. interest rates futures implied traders see a 29-percent chance the Fed would raise rates at its next policy meeting in March, down from 31 percent late on Tuesday, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program.

Prior to the FOMC statement, U.S. stock prices were buoyed by a rebound in crude prices following data showed a jump in weekly demand for products such as heating oil when a cold front hit the country. News Russia was discussing a possible pact with OPEC pushed Brent prices above $33 a barrel.

Brent oil settled up $1.30 or 4.09 percent at $33.10 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures ended up 85 cents or 2.70 percent at $32.30 a barrel.

In late U.S. trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 216.06 points, or 1.34 percent, to 15,951.17, the S&P 500 was down 21.92 points, or 1.15 percent, to 1,881.71 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 96.95 points, or 2.12 percent, to 4,470.72.

Apple and Boeing’s disappointing forecasts helped drag down U.S. stock indexes.

Earlier on Wednesday, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.4 percent at 1,340.76. Chinese shares ended stronger, and Tokyo’s Nikkei finished 2.7 percent higher.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against six currencies, was down 0.5 percent at 98.878.

In the bond market, benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields fell to 2.00 percent, from 2.05 percent before the statement.

Traditional safe-haven gold rose for a third straight day to its highest level since early November, last up 0.6 percent at $1,127.50 an ounce.

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