Stocks fell Wednesday snapping two days of strong advances after
Federal Reserve officials said stimulus efforts could end later
this year, adding that interest rates could start rise as soon as
six months after that. The Fed said job market conditions will
largely drive its decision-making but it dropped a firm
unemployment target from its policy strategy. Weak earnings by
business software company Oracle (
) and delivery carrier Federal Express also contributed to the
downbeat mood. Energy and materials stock finished with the
steepest declines, each falling nearly 1% as a group, closely
followed by a drop for shares of consumer discretionary
As expected, the Federal Open Markets Committee today trimmed
another $10 billion from its monthly bond purchases but in a change
from recent policy dropped its target for a 6.5% unemployment rate
to trigger an increase in its benchmark borrowing rates. The
central bank also scaled back it growth projections for the U.S.
economy this year, now forecasting a rise of 2.8% to 3% in 2014,
down from its previous call for 2.8% to 3.2% growth.
It was a very light for economic data, with only the Commerce
Department reporting that the Q4 current account deficit which
narrowed to a 14-year low of $81.1 billion during Q4 from a $96.4
billion deficit in the prior quarter. Market experts had been
expecting an $86.5 billion deficit.
Commodities were mostly lower as the U.S. dollar rose following
the FOMC meeting today. April crude oil fell 54 cents to $99.15 per
barrel while April natural gas rose 3 cents to $4.49 per 1 million
BTU. April gold was down $17.50 to $1,341.50 per ounche while May
silver retreated 3 cents to $20.82 per ounce. May copper rose 4 to
$2.99 per pound.
Here's where the markets stood at the end of the day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 114 (-0.7%) at 16,222
S&P 500 down 11.5 (-0.6%) at 1,860
Nasdaq Composite Index down 25.7 (-0.6%) at 4,307
Hang Seng Index down 0.07%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.17%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.46%
(+) HZNP, Climbs to to a new all-time high after announcing a
deal to acquire privately held Vidara Therapeutics for $200 mln in
cash and $400 mln of HZPN shares, which would give Vidara
shareholders a 26% share of the combined companies.
(+) PRTA (+23.65%) Will present interim data from Phase 1 study
of its NEOD001 drug candidate next month at the XIV International
Symposium on Amyloidosis.
(+) NSPR (+4.42%) Successfully enrolled the first patient into
the CARENET clinical trial.
(-) RBCN, The Co-Investment 2000 Fund LP and Cross Atlantic
Technology Fund II LP late Tuesday file to sell 2.0 mln of their
5.02 mln shares overall in an underwritten secondary offering. RBCN
will not receive any proceeds from the deal.
(-) AV, Reduced to Underperform from Neutral in a downgrade by