Closing Update: Blue-Chips Pull Stocks Under Following Fed Minutes; S&P 500 Ends Little Changed

By Staff,

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Stocks fell Wednesday, eventually drifting slightly lower after minutes from the Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting last month revealed a more cautious approach to trimming the central bank's bond-buying stimulus than many investors previously believed. Blue-chips saw the largest declines, with the Dow Jones Industrials falling about 0.5%, the broader S&P 500 nearly even for the day, and the Nasdaq Composite ending with a small advance.

Minutes of the Dec. 17-18 Federal Open Markets Committee showed many on the panel were unwilling to commit the Fed to a specific timetable on slowing its bond-buying stimulus efforts.

FOMC members eventually voted to trim its purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt by $10 billion to $75 billion per month, although some worried about "an unintended tightening of financial conditions if a reduction in the pace of asset purchases was misinterpreted as signaling that the committee was likely to withdraw policy accommodation more quickly than had been anticipated," according to the minutes.

Earlier Wednesday, payroll processor ADP this morning reported a 238,000 increase in private-sector hiring last month, making for the largest rise in over a year and beating estimates for a 205,000 gain. November payrolls also were revised higher to 229,000, lifting the total for 2013 to 2.16 million new hires, up 10% from 2012.

Commodities were lower today. Crude oil for February delivery fell $1.35 to $92.32 per barrel while February natural gas declined 8 cents to $4.22 per 1 million BTU. February gold fell $3.70 to $1225.50 per ounce today while March silver declined 26 cents to $19.53 per ounce. March copper also was down, falling 2 cents to $3.34 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 68.20 (-0.41%) to 16,462.74

S&P 500 down 0.39 (-0.02%) to 1,837.49

Nasdaq Composite Index up 12.43 (+0.3%) to 4,165.61


Hang Seng Index up 1.25%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.15%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.50%


(+) PATH, Teva Pharmaceuticals offers $3.65 a share - plus another $3.15 a share linked to the drug-maker reaching certain milestones with its Zecuity migraine treatment - trumping a $6 a share offer by Endo Health Solutions ( ENDP ).

(+) ABIO, FDA accepts investigation device exemption application by Laboratory Corp of America ( LH ) adding the company's test for the Gencaro beta-blocker to LH's diagnostic device for atrial fibrillation.

(+) RVBD, Confirms receiving unsolicited, $19-a-share cash buyout proposal from Elliott Management Corp, with the RVBD board reviewing the offer "in due course."


(-) SPRT, Northland Capital Markets downgrades the cloud-based business services company to Market Perform from Outperform after the company issues disappointing Q1 guidance.

(-) SEED, FY13 earnings rise but sales drop amid increased competition and bad weather.

(-) AZZ, Q3 revenue miss Street view; also sets FY14 guidance trailing analyst consensus.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: ENDP , LH

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