Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

How major U.S. stock market indexes fared on Wednesday


USA stock futures were modestly higher on Wednesday with investors taking weaker-than-expected economic data in stride.

Turning to index movements, the Nasdaq Composite recorded its biggest weekly decline last week after posting a sharp fall on Friday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index, which hit an all-time high only to close down 1.8% on Friday, was under pressure, with the index down by 55 points, or 0.9%, to 6,153.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX was down a more manageable 0.6 percent, mildly supported by modest gains in oil prices which lifted shares in energy stocks and by the first round of parliamentary election results in France which look set to give President Emmanuel Macron a huge majority to push through his pro-business reforms.

Shannon Saccocia, head of asset allocation & portfolio strategy at Boston Private, said softer data are consistent with recent trend of weakness but unlikely to change the Federal Reserve's well-telegraphed plan to raise interest rates today.

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Market expectations for a June rate hike were 99.6 percent Tuesday, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

In corporate news, shares in electric vehicle maker Tesla were higher following news that its Model X SUV has been given a five-star safety rating and after Ron Baron, the founder of Baron Capital, told CNBC the stock could jump by more than 50% by next year. The suspect shooter is said to be in police custody.

The Fed cited continued United States economic growth and job market strength, proceeding with its first tightening cycle in more than a decade.

"The market should take confidence in the fact that they're being very transparent in setting clear policy steps in terms of how they normalize the balance sheet", said Heidi Learner, chief economist for Savills Studley, a unit of Savills Plc, in NY. The Fed usually tries to aim for 2% core inflation or less. It's the second interest rate hike by the Fed in 2017.

The S&P technology index ended down 0.8 percent on Monday, but well off its worst levels of the session and it remains up 17.6 percent for the year to date.

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Retail sales decreased by -0.3% for the month.

The Fed is expected to release its decision at 2:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) on Wednesday. On Wednesday, five out of 11 of the S&P 500's major sectors closed the day with losses.

Analysts have made mention of a rotation taking place in financial markets where traders and investors are shorting the large market cap companies, and going long on small market cap companies and forgotten stocks.

The oil price is under pressure today, after a report from the International Energy Agency looking at 2018 saying the rise in output from shale producers in the U.S. was likely to continue - piling pressure on OPEC's attempts to balance the market. A report from the Energy Information Administration, due at 10:30 a.m.

Britain's FTSE 100 closed down 0.2 per cent, with investors dumping tech and other cyclical stocks, which feature heavily on the blue-chip index, and heading into defensive sectors.

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Dollar-denominated commodities like gold are particularly sensitive to Fed rate hikes.

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