Topsy Turvy day on Wall Street, Dow Jones finishes 7 points ahead




NEW YORK, New York — Wall Street dove into the red Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve Open Market Committee nudged up official interest rates by 25 basis points, as expected.

The benchmark rate now moves from 4.50 percent to 4.75 percent.

The Committee, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, said more increases were ahead in its bid to tame inflation back to the two percent level.

"The Committee anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent over time," the FOMC statement said.

"Recent indicators point to modest growth in spending and production. Job gains have been robust in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Inflation has eased somewhat but remains elevated."

The Dow Jones will had rallied hundreds of points, then moved into the red late in the day, finishing ahead 6.92 points or 0.02 percent at 34,092.96.

The Nasdaq Composite was the big winner of the day, rising 2 percent or 231.77 points to close Wednesday at 11,816.32.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 rallied 42.61 points or 1.05 percent to 4,119.21.

The U.S. dollar dipped after the Fed rate decision, with the move widely anticipated. However, a surge of buying mid to late afternoon saw the greenback sink.

The euro, which was approaching 1.0900 at one point, rallied to touch 1.1001 before softening to 1.0986. Sterling, which traded under 1.2300 earlier, steamed higher to finish around 1.2370.

The Japanese yen rose sharply to 128.86. The Swiss franc strengthened to 0.9085.

The Canadian dollar jumped to 1.3294. The Australian dollar zoomed up to 0.7132. The New Zealand dollar rallied to 0.6497.

Shares in Europe and the UK traded underwater as well Wednesday, while in Asia, a number of markets gained ground.

The German Dax gained ground, adding 0.35 percent. In London, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.14 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 dipped 0.07 percent.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng jumped 1.05 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.07 percent. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.90 percent.

The Australian All Ordinaries gained 0.31 percent. Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 rose surged 1.03 percent.

The Singapore Straits Times Index advanced 0.36 percent. Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite accelerated 0.34 percent. In Seoul, South Korea, the Kospi Composite jumped 1.02 percent.

The Fed’s FOMC Committee pointed to the uncertainty provoked by the war in Ukraine and reiterated its commitment towards maximum unemployment and the benchmark 2 percent inflation level.

"Russia’s war against Ukraine is causing tremendous human and economic hardship and is contributing to elevated global uncertainty. The Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks," the FOMC statement said.

"The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. In support of these goals, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 percent. The Committee anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent over time. In determining the extent of future increases in the target range, the Committee will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments. In addition, the Committee will continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities, as described in its previously announced plans. The Committee is strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2 percent objective."

"In assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook. The Committee would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals. The Committee’s assessments will take into account a wide range of information, including readings on labor market conditions, inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and financial and international developments, the FOMC Committee said.

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