Markets

Close Update: Banking Sector Drives Dow Into Positive Territory After FOMC Meeting

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Led higher by a bounce in banking stocks in the wake of the two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a slim gain on Wednesday, leaving the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in negative territory.

The FOMC voted unanimously to keep interest rates unchanged, but called anemic first quarter growth "transitory", and projected inflation to reach 2% in the medium-term, both of which indicate a bias for further rate hikes, giving a lift to the banking sector.

The benchmark averages were trading lower for most of the day as disappointing iPhone sales and weak oil prices overshadowed bullish data on the services sector and labor market. The private-sector added 177,000 more jobs in April, beating estimates for a gain of 170,000. And the ISM and PMI service sector indices were both better-than-expected.

Oil futures were weighed down by inventory data, but started to turn higher at midday, driving the energy sector of the S&P 500 into the green. Although brent crude slid back to $50.50 per barrel from $51.00 at midday, the energy sector of the S&P 500 was one of just four sectors to close in the green.

For Thursday, Wall Street will get more data on the job market from initial jobless claims, as well as factory orders, non-farm productivity and unit labor costs and the balance of trade.

Earnings continue to roll in with results coming from Avon ( AVP ), Dunkin Brands ( DNKN ) and Viacom ( VIAB ).

Here's where the markets stood at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 8.01 points (+0.04%)

S&P 500 was down 3.04 points (-0.13%)

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 22.82 points (-0.37%)

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 0.21%

Nikkei 225 was closed

Hang Seng Index was closed

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.27%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) PIRS (+52.92%) Collaborating with AstraZeneca ( AZN ) to develop and commercialize Anticalin-based inhaler

(+) ESES (+34.62%) Awarded 2-year $50 million contract

(+) STRP (+23.35%) Received new buyout offer that is higher than AT&T's ( T )

(+) BPI (+21.83%) Swung to a profit in Q1, beating profit and sales expectations

(+) PHMD (+15.70%) First Capital takes 16.6% stake, plans to replace board and CEO

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) TWLO (-26.31%) Issues weak Q2, FY18 guidance, beat Q1 EPS and sales estiamtes

(-) VRTV (-19.26%) Swung to a loss, missing expectations, but beat on revenue

(-) LCI (-18.60%) Q3 results missed estimates, guides Q4 below street projections

(-) AKAM (-15.52%) Beats Q1 estimates, but issued soft Q2 guidance

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

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

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