Stocks are finished lower Wednesday. The Dow fell 106 points to 26385, while the S&P 500 lost 9 points to 2905. The Nasdaq Composite fell 17 points to 7990.
The major averages climbed to session highs following this afternoon’s Federal Reserve rate decision, but U.S. equities retreated after Fed Chair Jerome Powell responded to questions in the post-meeting press conference. As expected, policymakers voted to raise interest rates by 25 basis points for the third time this year, lifting the benchmark federal funds rate to a target range of 2.00% – 2.25%. The majority of FOMC officials now foresee an additional rate hike by year-end, according to the Fed’s “dot plot.” Treasury yields declined after Fed Chair Jerome Powell commented that he is not observing a buildup in fundamental inflation. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note dipped four basis points to 3.05%.
Seven of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in negative territory. Financials led decliners as interest rates slid lower. Health Care shares outperformed as Alexion Pharmaceuticals gained 5.1% to $135.59 after announcing the acquisition of biotech company Syntimmune for up to $1.2 billion.
Breadth was negative on issues by 5:2 on the NYSE and 2:1 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 3.3 billion shares.
In commodities, WTI crude slipped 0.7% to $71.79/barrel. COMEX gold declined 0.5% to $1,193.80/ounce despite a slightly weaker dollar.
On the data front, mortgage applications climbed 2.9% in the most recent week. An additional update revealed new home sales increased 3.5% in August after falling 1.6% in July.