Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Economy | By

USA stocks rise ahead of Federal Reserve meeting

USA stocks rise ahead of Federal Reserve meeting

Major U.S. tech-heavy stocks, such as Amazon and Apple, rose, underpinning the Nasdaq.

USA stocks advanced on Monday as investors were awaiting a key Federal Reserve meeting, but the gains were capped by struggling Boeing and Facebook stocks.

James Hughes, chief market analyst at Axi Trader, said: "There's still no further firm news on the trade deal with China, which again has the potential to drag on the health of United States equities and the only stand out on today's economic calendar is the NAHB housing market index".

Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama, agreed. "And to me it sounds like there may be nervousness ahead of the Fed announcement". Investors expect the central bank to reinforce its "patient" approach toward further interest rate hikes.

"The dot plot is consistently higher than where rates turned out to be, so the credibility hasn't been that good", Hellwig said.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 36.07 points, or 0.14 percent, to 25.812.80.

"The equity market, lifted by the return of easier money from central banks globally as well as the Fed, is positive without question, but we wonder how long this lift will last, considering the likely negative impact on earnings expectations from weakening trends in U.S. economic data and much of the rest of the world".

Shares of Facebook went down by 3.3 percent after an analyst from Needham downgraded the company to hold from buy, citing worries about Facebook's pivot to privacy and encrypted messages as well as the possibility of more regulatory scrutiny.

Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, eight closed in the red, with utilities and financials registering the biggest percentage drops.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp jumped 8.5 percent, the most among S&P stocks, after trial results showed that the company's non-invasive heart valve replacement system was superior to surgery.

Chip designer Nvidia Corp rose three per cent on partnering with Softbank Group Corp and LG Uplus Corp to deploy cloud gaming servers in Japan and Korea later this year.

The chipmaker provided the biggest boost to the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index, which has jumped by almost 22 percent so far this year.

A Wall Street sign is pictured in front of the New York Stock Exchange, in the Manhattan borough of New York.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.19-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.65-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

Coming on the heels of the S&P 500's best week since November, the benchmark index now hovers about 3.4 per cent below its all-time high reached in September.

Volume on US exchanges was 7.33 billion shares, compared with the 7.56 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

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