Markets

Closing Update: Fed Ignites Big Stock Rally; Largest Reversal in 6 Mos. as Dovish Comments Attract Investors

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Stocks rallied Wednesday afternoon, with all of the major market gauges climbing more than 1% after minutes from the September Federal Open Market Committee indicated the Federal Reserve will continue with its easy-money policy following the expected conclusion of its quantitative easing program next month. All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 finished higher, overcoming early lethargy throughout the markets, led by shares of health care and utility companies.

While the minutes from the Sept. 16-17 FOMC meeting showed considerable debate within the policy-setting panel over future interest rates, the overall tone remains dovish. "The concern was raised that the reference to 'considerable time' in the current forward guidance could be misunderstood as a commitment rather than as data dependent," according to the minutes.

The afternoon rally helped turn around energy stocks, which had been trading significantly lower as a group prior to the FOMC release following another drop in crude oil prices . Crude oil for November delivery settled $1.54 lower at $87.31 per barrel while November natural gas fell 10 cents to $3.86 per 1 million BTU.

Gold futures turned higher following the Fed minutes this afternoon but earlier settled lower for the day, with December gold slipping $6.40 to $1,205.30 per ounce while December silver sliding 18 cents to $17.02 per ounce.

Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 274.83 (+1.64%) to 16,994.22

S&P 500 up 33.79 (+1.75%) to 1,968.89

Nasdaq Composite Index up 83.39 (+1.90%) to 4,468.59

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index down 0.68%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.80%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.21%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) GTAT, Reportedly will have first hearing in bankruptcy court on Thursday. Also, Apple ( AAPL ) says it was surprised by the move but will work with officials in Arizona to preserve jobs at the GTAT facility AAPL partially funded.

(+) COST, Rallies to all-time high after Q4 net income of $1.58 per share tops Wall Street consensus by $0.18 per share. Net sales rose 9% year over year to $35.52 billion, exceeding the Capital IQ mean looking by around $260 mln.

(+) LAKE, Shares of hazardous materials-suit maker rise for a fourth day after the first U.S. patient diagnosed with Ebola died this morning in Dallas. The stock has risen 57% since Oct. 1.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ATEN, Falls to new, all-time low after cutting its Q3 revenue forecast by $5 mln to a new range of $43 mln to $43.5 mln, lagging Street view by at least $5.19 mln.

(-) ARWR, Tumbles to new 52-week low after data from Phase IIb testing of its hepatitis B drug candidate indicated a smaller-than-expected reduction in the presence of the hepatitis B virus.

(-) LIQD, Slides to a record low, with the cloud-based trading and portfolio management company receiving a tepid reponse to the beta version of its new mobile application for hedge fund managers.

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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