Stocks finished higher Wednesday after the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% for the third time since July. During the post-meeting press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated a pause in monetary stimulus and said the central bank would need to see a “really significant” up-tick in inflation to hike rates. The S&P 500 advanced 0.3%, closing at a fresh all-time high. The Dow added 115 points, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.3%.
Eight of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished the session in positive territory with Health Care and Utilities groups pacing gains. In earnings, General Electric climbed more than 11% after reporting quarterly profit and sales above Wall Street forecasts. Advanced Micro Devices fell 1.8% after the chipmaker missed analyst revenue projections. On the trade front, the international summit in Chile where the U.S. and China were expected to sign “phase one” of a trade agreement was unexpectedly canceled. However, the White House released a statement that the expectations of China signing “phase one” of the deal in November remains unchanged.
Treasuries advanced following a flurry of economic updates and central bank news. The yield on the 10-year note dropped six basis points to 1.77%. The initial print of third-quarter GDP showed the U.S. economy grew at a 1.9% annualized pace during the July-September period, slowing from the prior 2% clip. The figure came in above consensus forecasts, with consumer spending rising at a 2.9% rate. Separately, ADP revealed the U.S. private sector added 125,000 jobs in October, rebounding from September’s downwardly revised 93,000 figure.