Stocks are mixed Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 losing ground yet again, while the Nasdaq charters new high territory ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting this afternoon.
The Dow slipped 0.7% Wednesday as investors awaited comments from the Federal Reserve on the state of the economy and a determination as to whether additional stimulus from the central bank will continue. The S&P 500 also gave up 0.3%, having reached positive territory for the year Monday, but since giving it back. The Nasdaq Composite continues to make fresh highs, climbing 0.3% as gains in key tech stocks assuaged the broader market’s decline.
Stock Index ETFs are tracking moves in the benchmark stock indexes. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), and the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), both showed losses early Wednesday, while the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) rallied due to green tech stocks like Amazon and Apple, which gained more than 2% each and hit all-time highs. Alphabet’s Google and Netflix added 0.6% and 0.2%, respectively, while much of the market was bathed in red in early trading. This has driven the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) up 1.24% Wednesday.
Experts believe the Federal Reserve will maintain the current policy for now at the latest meeting, but investors will be vigilant on whether the central bank considers possibly implementing yield caps and bolstering forward guidance. The Fed will be releasing its first forecast for the economy and interest rates since late last year, having missed a forecast in March just as the pandemic heralded the swift closing of the economy.
“I don’t think the Fed is going to back off at all here,” said Gregory Faranello, head of U.S. rates trading at AmeriVet Securities. “This is a longer-term endeavor. We think rates are going to be on hold here for a long period of time. And, when you look at some of their programs, they’re just getting these lending facilities up and running.”
In addition to news from the Fed, there has been a spike in coronavirus infections as the country has moved to reopen the economy. Texas reports back-to-back record increases in coronavirus-related hospitalizations while Arizona’s hospitalization rate is also rising. New coronavirus clusters, which are concentrated around meatpacking plants, prisons, and other facilities, are also catalyzing surges in states like Utah and Arkansas.
As several Democratic governors also have ignored their own states’ social distancing limitations to participate in mass protests over police brutality, an increasing number of Americans are contracting the coronavirus as social distancing measures are ignored.
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