U.S. stocks struggled for traction on Wednesday ahead of the outcome of a Federal Reserve policy meeting and on the heels of another record-setting day for Wall Street.How are stock-index futures trading?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 84 points, or 0.2%, to 35,968.64.
The S&P 500
was down 4.03 points, or 0.1%, at 4,626.62.
The Nasdaq Composite
ticked down 1.18 points to 15,648.43.
On Tuesday, the Dow closed above 36,000 for the first time, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also closed at records. They were joined in record territory by the small-cap Russell 2000
which logged its first record finish since March 15.
Need to Know: The ‘Dow 36,000’ authors weren’t just 17 years late. Here’s the key mistake they madeWhat’s driving the market? All three major benchmarks logged record closing highs for a third straight trading session on Tuesday, the first time that has happened since December 2019. Resilient corporate earnings, despite supply chain disruptions, higher commodity prices and the surge in coronavirus delta cases in the third quarter, have done much of the heavy lifting for stocks recently. Investors will turn their focus Wednesday to the outcome of a two-day Fed meeting, where Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues are expected to confirm the start of a reduction in bond purchases. The announcement is due at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, followed by a news conference with Powell at 2:30 p.m. Read: 5 things to watch for when Fed meets Wednesday “The QE [quantitative easing] taper announcement will likely be seamless, but what may be less seamless is the rate discussion. Now that the major central banks are shifting toward a more hawkish policy stance, except for Japan and the European Central Bank (ECB), there is a rising pressure on the Fed to start thinking about ‘thinking about’ raising rates,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote, in a note to clients. “Mr. Powell is ideally not willing to touch U.S. interest rates until 2023, but if inflation proves stickier than he first thought, keeping the rates near zero would be a policy mistake that could cost him and the U.S. economy dearly,” said the analyst. In U.S. economic data, privately run U.S. businesses created 571,000 new jobs in October, an ADP survey found. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a rise of 395,000. IHS Markit said its U.S. services sector purchasing managers index came in at 58.7 in October, up from 54.9 in September and above its earlier “flash” estimate of58.2. “After the delta variant caused growth to slow in the third quarter, the easing of virus case numbers has been followed by a strong revival of economic activity, notably in the service sector, which looks set to be the driving force of the economy as we head towards the end of the year,” Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, said. The Institute for Supply Management’s closely watched services index for October and September factory orders were both set for release at 10 a.m. Elsewhere, the Caixin China services purchasing managers index showed robust growth was maintained in October, despite fresh outbreaks of Covid, as the index hit its highest level since July.What companies are in focus?
Zillow Group Inc.
shares fell 16% after the real-estate giant late Tuesday pulled the plug on its home-flipping business and said it expected losses of more than $550 million on homes purchased in the second half of this year for which the company admits it paid too much.
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond
climbed 33% after the retailer late Tuesday announced a partnership with grocery chain Kroger
The popular meme stock also said it was ahead of its share buyback schedule.
Shares of Activision Blizzard
tumbled 16% after the videogame publisher’s lighter-than-expected outlook and expected delay of two games overshadowed an earnings beat.
shares surged 11% after the ride-share company posted a 73% annual rise in revenue.
New York Times Co.
shares were down more than 5% after the newspaper group beat earnings estimates and offered upbeat guidance.
CVS Health Corp.
beat estimates by 19 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.97 per share and revenue beating Wall Street forecasts. The drugstore chain and pharmacy-benefits manager got a boost from increased demand for Covid testing and vaccinations. Shares rose 3.6%.
reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $4.83 per share, beating the estimate of $4.66, while revenue was a beat on strength in the health insurer’s Medicare Advantage business. Shares were down 3%.
Shares of Avis Budget Group Inc.
fell 17% after Wall Street downgrades that followed the 108% rise for shares of the car-rental company on Tuesday — a move attributed to a short squeeze fueled by a meme-stock frenzy.
Read: It’s not a typo, the Dow transports really rose more than 1,000 points, because of Avis’ stockHow are other assets trading?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
fell 0.9 basis point to 1.538%. Yields and debt prices move in opposite directions.
Oil futures pulled back, with the U.S. benchmark
dropping 2.8% to $81.53 a barrel. Gold futures
fell 1.1% to $1,769.20 an ounce.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index
was up 0.1%, while London’s FTSE 100
The Shanghai Composite
fell 0.2%, while the Hang Seng Index
fell by a similar amount in Hong Kong and Japan’s Nikkei 225