Stocks finished solidly lower Wednesday, with small mid-day
losses accelerating despite the Federal Reserve promising to
maintain its current stimulus policies as long as necessary.
Equities had been drifting slightly underwater through most of the
morning following two days of solid gains only to turn south after
the Federal Open Market Committee statement at 2 p.m. and remarks
by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke the central bank could start cutting
back on its bond-buying program late this year if conditions
continue to improve. All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 ended lower,
with the steepest slides for shares of utility and consumer staples
Bernanke said on Wednesday the central bank expects to slow the
pace of its bond purchases later this year "if the subsequent data
remain broadly aligned with our current expectations for the
economy," and bringing the program to an end by mid-2014. While
those remarks are little different from current expectations for
Fed policy, a clear statement of what conditions would trigger the
central bank pulling the punchbowl still left traders in a sour
In other remarks, Bernanke said the Fed expects moderate growth
to lead to continuing healing in the job market as headwinds facing
the economy ease. He also said policymakers expect inflation to
move back up toward their long-term 2 percent goal.
The FOMC statement also was slightly more upbeat than its recent
statements. "The committee sees the downside risks to the outlook
for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the
fall," it said.
Commodities were mixed. July crude oil fell 21 cents to $98.25
per barrel while July natural gas rose 6 cents to $3.96 per 1 mln
BTU. August gold rose $7.73 to $1373.80 per ounce while July silver
fell 7 cents to $21.61 per ounce. July copper fell a penny to $3.14
Here's where the U.S, markets stood at end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 206.04 (-1.35%) to
S&P 500 down 22.88 (-1.39%) to 1,628.93
Nasdaq Composite Index down 38.98 (-1.12%) to 3,443.20
Hang Seng Index down 1.13%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.73%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.40%
(+) NKTR, Drug-maker says it is close to developing an opioid
analgesic molecule that alleviates pain but does not lead to
substance abuse of the drug.
(+) MNOV, Presents positive data for a prospective treatment for
methamphetamine addition. The company also said preliminary results
indicate its MN-166 drug candidate does not cause significant
changes in cardiovascular functioning.
(+) AVHI, Private-equity firm TPG pays $14.65 a share - or 37.5
mln overall - to acquire 2.6 mln shares of the homebuilder's common
stock along with another $97.5 to purchase 700,000 newly created
Series A convertible preferred shares. TPG will gain a 41.9% stake
from the $135-mln transaction and have two of the eight seats on
the AVHI board.
(-) BIOD, Announces plans to sell a yet-to-be-determined number
of shares of common stock, subject to market conditions and other
(-) POOL, Reduces FY13 EPS guidance by $0.10 to new range of
$2.03 to $2.13 per share, trailing the Street view by at least
$0.08 per share.
(-) TTEK, Revises Q3 outlook to reflect rising restructuring
costs, now projecting a net loss of $0.30 to $0.50 per share
compared with the $0.38 per share profit analysts are expecting.
Also cuts revenue forecast by about 15% to $440 mln to $490 mln.
The Street is at $551 mln. It also authorizes a $100-mln stock
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