Stocks finished mixed Wednesday. The Dow lost 141 points to 25,745 while the S&P 500 fell 8 points to 2,824. The Nasdaq Composite added 5 points to 7,728.
The major averages fluctuated as investors digested central bank and trade-related updates. As widely expected, the Federal Reserve announced its decision to leave interest rates unchanged, and the ‘dot-plot’ showed the majority of policymakers do no project additional rate hikes in 2019. In the post-meeting news conference, Chairman Jerome Powell noted the Fed’s balance sheet ending figure will be “a bit above $3.5 trillion” with the runoff projected to end in September. In geopolitics, President Trump said that tariffs on Chinese goods will remain for a “substantial period of time” ahead of high-level trade negotiations planned for next week.
Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory with Financials underperforming amid weakness in banks. The Energy group was a notable outperformer with NYMEX WTI crude adding 1.4% to $59.83/barrel after an update showed a sharp drawdown in domestic crude inventories in the prior week. In earnings news, FedEx lost 3.5% to $175.07 after missing analyst earnings estimates and lowering its 2019 profit forecast for the second consecutive quarter, citing slowing global growth.
Breadth was negative on issues by 9:5 on the NYSE and 5:3 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE Volume was more than 3.7 billion shares.
Treasuries strengthened following the Fed’s update with the yield on the 10-year note down eight basis points to 2.53%. In commodities, COMEX gold advanced 0.6% to $1,314.40/ounce amid a weaker dollar.