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
Hang Seng Index down 0.68%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.80%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.21%
(+) 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.
(-) 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.
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