Closing Update: Stocks Scratch Out Small Gains After Fed Minutes Point to Eventual Rate Moves

Stocks ended mixed Wednesday, reversing a brief mid-afternoon slump that followed Federal Reserve minutes showing policy-makers last month were moving closer to a consensus on an exit strategy from their stimulus efforts for the American economy. Nine of the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 finished higher, with shares of consumer staples companies the lone sector failing to close above water. The Nasdaq Composite index also ended with a small loss, with technology and health care stocks notching only slight gains.

Minutes of the Federal Open Markets Commitee meeting on July 29-30 indicated some officials think the Fed would need "to call for a relatively prompt move" to reduce the stimulus it has supplied since the American economy tanked in late 2008. Otherwise, these officials felt the Fed risked overshooting its targets for unemployment and inflation.

Crude oil for September delivery settled $1.59 higher at $96.07 per barrel while September natural gas fell 5 cents to $3.82 per 1 million BTU. December gold fell $1.80 to $1,295 per ounce while September silver rose 8 cents to $19.50 per ounce. September copper jumped 9 cents to finish at $3.18 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at the end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 59.54 (+0.35%) to 16,979.13

S&P 500 up 4.91 (+0.25%) to 1,986.51

Nasdaq Composite Index down 1.03 (-0.02%) to 4,526.48


Hang Seng Index up 0.15%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.23%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.35%


(+) PTX, Acquires all of GlaxoSmithKline's ( GSK ) rights to Treximet migraine treatment after securing necessary financing. Agrees to continue GSK's current product development efforts with Pozen ( POZN ) while undertaking certain new activities.

(+) FOLD, Reports positive 18-month data from a second Phase III trial of its oral small molecule chaperone migalastat HCl in patients with Fabry disease and amenable mutations.

(+) IRF, Agrees to $3 bln buyout offer from Infineon, accepting $40 per share in cash from the German chip-maker. Reports Q4 non-GAAP earnings of $21.9 mln, or $0.30 per share, reversing $1.2 mln net loss last year and topping estimates by $0.03. Revenue also beats.


(-) NBY, Said its NVC-422 ophthalmic drug candidate did not meet primary or secondary endpoints during Phase II study in patients with adenoviral conjunctivitis.

(-) RGSE, CEO Dennis Lacey Kam Mofid steps down to pursue other interests. Dennis Lacey is promoted to succeed Mofid, with board chairman David Belluck saying the company's best prospects "reside within the residential solar division."

(-) HTZ, Now sees FY14 results "well below" its prior guidance for adjusted EPS of $1.70 to $2.00 on between $11.4 bln to $11.7 bln in revenue, citing operational challenges and costs tied to audit of previous results dating back to 2011.

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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