U.S. stocks close higher ahead as Fed meeting starts

Cheryl Sanders
September 21, 2017

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 39.45 points, or 0.18 percent, to 22,370.8, clocking its sixth straight record close.

On the economic front, United States privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,180,000, beating market consensus, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday. Over the past 12 months, US home sales have risen only 0.2 percent.

The Fed meeting is expected to produce details on how the central bank will release $4.2 trillion in debt and mortgage-backed securities portfolios, almost a decade after the global financial crisis.

EUR  USD Daily Chart

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that rise was one of many factors informing the bank's decision to begin shedding the bond holdings acquired to boost the USA economy after the financial crisis. The S&P 500 added 2.78 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 2,506.65, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Keeping rate hikes where they were was expected".

With the unexpected decrease, existing home sales fell to their lowest annual rate since hitting 5.34 million last August.

But news that the Fed still planned a third interest rate hike in December boosted treasury bond yields, lifting shares of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and other banks.

While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders will be looking for clues about the outlook for monetary policy. With the gain, the average reached a two-month closing high.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday.

The Dow floated higher, lifted by JP Morgan Chase, which gained 1.4 percent, and by Goldman Sachs and American Express, which each rose one percent.

Shares of Nabriva Therapeutics soared 90 percent after the company said its drug to treat community-acquired bacterial pneumonia met the main goal of a late-stage study. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained $1.15, or 2.1 percent, to $56.29 a barrel in London.

While waiting for the U.S. Energy Information Administration to release its at 10:30AM ET (14:30GMT) Wednesday, rose 1.24% to $50.52 by 7:09AM ET (11:09GMT), while gained 1.25% to $55.83.

On the currency front, the USA dollar is trading at 111.47 yen compared to the 111.57 yen it fetched at the close of NY trading on Monday. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 2 percent. Export prices had been expected to edge up by 0.2 percent. The dollar, which draws bidders in a higher interest-rate regime, enjoyed a fillip, up 0.7% at 92.475, based on the ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the buck against a half-dozen currencies.

Other reports by iNewsToday