Wall Street sinks after Fed gives mixed signals on next move
By Noel Randewich (Reuters) - Wall Street sank on Wednesday when Federal Reserve policy makers gave mixed signals about their next move after cutting interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point in a widely expected move. With continued economic growth and strong hiring 'the most likely outcomes,' the Fed nevertheless cited 'uncertainties' about the outlook and pledged to 'act as appropriate' to sustain the expansion. New projections showed policymakers at the median expected rates to stay within the new range through 2020, bad news for investors hoping for additional cuts to help blunt economic fallout from the U.S.-China trade.
By Noel Randewich
(Reuters) - Wall Street sank on Wednesday when Federal Reserve policy makers gave mixed signals about their next move after cutting interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point in a widely expected move.
With continued economic growth and strong hiring "the most likely outcomes," the Fed nevertheless cited "uncertainties" about the outlook and pledged to "act as appropriate" to sustain the expansion.
New projections showed policymakers at the median expected rates to stay within the new range through 2020, bad news for investors hoping for additional cuts to help blunt economic fallout from the U.S.-China trade.
"The main concern (for stock investors) is there might not be another cut, and that's why you had a little bit of a selloff," said Alan Lancz, President of Alan B. Lancz and Associates in Toledo, Ohio. "But it's almost like selling on good news. They left the door open for more cuts. It's a really divided Fed right now."
Expectations of lower rates have supported Wall Street's rally this year, with the benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> less than 2% below its record high close in July.
At 2:21 pm ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was down 0.63% at 26,940.15 points, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.72% to 2,984.16.
The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 1.02% to 8,102.75.
Ahead of the Fed's announcement, the S&P 500 had been down about 0.3%.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, with the S&P utilities index <.SPLRCU> up 0.1% and alone among gainers.
The central bank also widened the gap between the interest it pays banks on excess reserves and the top of its policy rate range, a step taken to smooth out problems in money markets that prompted a market intervention by the New York Fed this week.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.84-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.10-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 39 new highs and 29 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.