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Standard & Poor's


09/17/14 04:42:03 PM

S&P Market Commentary

... NEW YORK (AP) U.S. stocks edged mostly higher in afternoon trading Wednesday as investors waited for a Federal Reserve statement on interest rates following a two-day meeting. Stocks of home builders jumped after a rise in confidence in the new home market. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average nudged up six points, or 0.04 percent, to 17,138 around 1:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite was up less than a point, or 0.5 percent, to 4,553. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell less than a point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,998. FED WATCH: Investors will be looking to see if the Fed statement keeps the phrase "considerable time," referring to how long it will wait before raising interest rates. The Fed has held the short-term rates it controls close to zero for more than five years, which has helped stimulate the economy and fueled a bull market for stocks. The Fed releases its statement at 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday. INFLATION WATCH: U.S. consumer prices edged down in August, the first monthly drop since the spring of 2013, as gasoline, airline tickets and clothing prices all fell. It was the latest evidence that inflation remains under control and was taken as a signal by some that the Fed is unlikely to raise rates soon. In a note to investors, PNC Financial Group said the inflation figures suggest the first Fed rate hike won't come until July 2015. THE QUOTE: "The market is reacting to what it thinks the Fed will do, and it's not all that clear cut," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. "You have a market that doesn't really know where to go." DUPONT JUMPS: DuPont jumped 5 percent on news that activist investor Nelson Peltz had sent a letter to the company's board Tuesday suggesting it split in two. His Trian Fund Management LP says it has been in private talks with DuPont for more than a year to boost shareholder value and improve its financial performance. DuPont rose $3.02 to $68.85. FEDEX SURGE: FedEx rose $4.85, or 3 percent, to $159.51 after its quarterly profit climbed 24 percent and beat forecasts by financial analysts. The company benefited from an increase in shipments to people shopping online. BUILDER BOOM: Shares of home builders jumped after builder confidence in the market for new homes rose to its highest level in nearly nine years. Miami-based Lennar Corp. rose 5 percent, the most in the S&P 500 index. Hovnanian Enterprises climbed 4 percent. GENERAL MILLS DROPS: General Mills, the food company behind Cheerios cereal and Yoplait yogurt, fell $2.03, or 3.8 percent, to $51.15 after reporting disappointing quarterly results. Its stock was the third-biggest loser in the S&P 500. CHINA BANKS: Investors were cheered by news reports that China's central bank will inject a total of 500 billion yuan ($81 billion) into the five biggest state banks over three months. Additional financial system liquidity would build on targeted measures to shore up growth, amid a bout of weak economic data. There was no official confirmation of the reports. RUSSIAN CHILL: Moscow's stocks sank amid fears that the government there might start cracking down on large companies in a way it hasn't done for over a decade. The house arrest of tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov saw shares in his holding company, Sistema, drop 37 percent. The wider MICEX index was down 1.9 percent. Business experts fear the arrest is politically motivated and echoes the 2003 case against Yukos. The oil company was broken up and taken over by the state after its CEO was imprisoned. EUROPEAN STOCKS: France's CAC 40 ended up 0.5 percent and Germany's DAX added 0.3 percent. Britain'sFTSE 100 finished down 0.2 percent. ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo'sNikkei 225 fell 0.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1 percent. China's Shanghai Composite added 0.5 percent and Seoul's Kospi gained 1 percent. Markets in Taiwan, India and Southeast Asia were higher. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 88 cents to $94 a barrel in New York. It rose $1.96 to close at $94.88 a barrel on Tuesday. BOND TRADING: Government bonds rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.57 percent from 2.59 percent on Tuesday. The yield has moved between a high of 3 percent and a low of 2.34 percent this year.


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