U.S. Stocks End Day Little Changed as Oil Tumbles: Markets Wrap
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks held near a 14-month low on a volatile day that saw the benchmark gauge swing almost 2 percent from trough to peak. Oil tumbled.
The S&P 500 Index ended virtually unchanged as investors braced for Wednesday’s Federal Reserve policy decision. FedEx slumped almost 5 percent as of 4:30 p.m. in New York, after a lower profit forecast stoked doubts about the strength of global trade. Afterhours trading in the largest exchange-traded fund that tracks the S&P 500 fell 0.5 percent.
During the regular session, consumer and technology companies were the best performers, while energy shares sank along with crude. West Texas Intermediate oil dropped more than 8 percent at one point, tumbling past $46 a barrel as traders fretted about the outlook for growth.
Treasuries and the Japanese yen advanced amid a lingering mood of caution after Chinese President Xi Jinping offered no fresh commitments to stimulate the world’s second-biggest economy in a keynote speech. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. and China are planning to hold meetings next month to seek a trade truce. The dollar slipped and the euro strengthened.
With equities beaten down in recent weeks, stock investors are increasingly pinning their hopes on the U.S. Federal Reserve taking a dovish turn Wednesday. While a rate hike is widely expected, historically the central bank has rarely raised borrowing costs during such market turmoil. President Donald Trump continued with his criticism of policy makers, warning them to avoid “yet another mistake” just hours before their two-day meeting begins.
“We’re still in a very treacherous trading environment here, and I don’t think we’ve seen any signs yet that we’re getting out of that,” said Matt Forester, the chief investment officer at BNY Mellon’s Lockwood Advisors. “We have to continually be careful.”
And beyond the Fed looms more trouble for markets: on Friday night, spending authority expires for a swathe of the U.S. government unless Trump and Congress reach a deal.
Here are some events investors will be watching in the days ahead:
- The Fed holds its final policy meeting of 2018 on Tuesday and Wednesday. The rate decision will be followed by a press conference with Chairman Jerome Powell.
- The Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision is due Thursday, followed by a briefing from Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. A Bank of England decision is also Thursday.
- A partial U.S. government shutdown could start this week if lawmakers and Trump fail to resolve how much money to allocate for Trump’s wall along the Mexican border.
And these are the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 Index was little changed at the close of trading in New York.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dipped 0.8 percent.
- The Nikkei-225 Stock Average fell 1.8 percent to the lowest since March.
- The MSCI Emerging Market Index fell 0.5 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent.
- The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.1364.
- The Japanese yen strengthened 0.2 percent to 112.57 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 2.82 percent.
- Germany’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 0.24 percent.
- Britain’s 10-year yield rose two basis points to 1.28 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude declined 7.3 percent to $46.24 a barrel.
- Gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,249.17 an ounce.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.