Stocks finished higher on Wednesday as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s policy decision. The Dow gained 29 points, while the S&P 500 added 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.4%.
As expected, central bank officials voted unanimously to leave rates unchanged after three consecutive cuts. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that the current state of policy is likely to remain appropriate, contingent on incoming data. The U.S. dollar dropped to a four-month low, while Treasuries climbed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note declined five basis points to 1.79%.
On the data front, core consumer prices (excluding food and energy) advanced at an annualized 2.3% pace last month, unchanged from the prior period. In commodities, WTI crude fell 0.8% to $58.76/barrel following a surprise weekly build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
Eight of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in positive territory, with Technology and Industrial shares pacing gains. In corporate news, Home Depot lost 1.8% following a weak sales growth outlook for 2020. Chevron fell 1.4% after announcing plans to write down as much as $11 billion worth of assets amid a decline in oil prices. GameStop shed 15.1% after the video game retailer cut its full-year profit guidance and posted an unexpected loss in the latest quarter.
In geopolitics, investors continue to await trade updates ahead of Sunday’s deadline, at which time the U.S. is scheduled to impose tariffs on the final tranche of Chinese imports that includes a number of consumer products. Tomorrow’s general election in the U.K. will be closely watched, as it will help determine the future of Brexit.