The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-day winning streak on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve made official its plans to end the last round of its recession-era stimulus program.
Most major stock benchmarks slipped lower, after an initial knee-jerk bout of panic, in the wake of the Fed’s policy decision, which came just after 2 p.m. Eastern time. Stocks did recover somewhat, but still ended Wednesday’s trading session in the red.
Although the Fed said it would keep fed funds rate at zero, investors appeared to be caught off guard by the Fed’s upbeat view on the labor market and inflation. In its accompanying statement after its two-day meeting, the Fed explicitly said it could raise interest rates sooner than markets have forecast, if the economy grows faster than the bank projects. It was the first time the Fed made such explicit remarks about how quickly it could hike rates.
Despite the choppy trading, there’s good news to be gleaned from the U.S. central bank’s posture. The Fed’s view implies the U.S. economy is on firmer footing.
But the markets had hoped for more signs that a low-rate policy would be maintained for an extended period.
The S&P 500 SPX, -0.14% closed 2.75 points, or 0.1%, lower at 1,982.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index, which was already under pressure from Internet stocks COMP, -0.33% lost 15 points, or 0.3%, to 4,549.23. Meanwhile, the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.18% ended down 31.44 points, or 0.2%, at 16,974.
Read also: The end of QE may usher in an era of uncertainty, volatility
Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors, expects more volatility in the next few days as investors fully digest the Fed’s decision, but ultimately believes that the end of QE is a positive for stocks.
“The Fed is normalizing policy and the only reason they are doing so now is because they believe the economy is in a good shape. Now the focus is on the interest rate, which is likely to stay at near zero until next June,” Orlando said.
Facebook tumbles after warning of higher costs to come
Facebook missed profit expectations for the first time in two years. WSJ’s Reed Albergotti and Scott Austin discuss the social network’s third quarter earnings report.
Tech stocks under pressure: Tech stocks were not shaping up for a repeat of Tuesday’s gains. In large part, Facebook is to blame. The social-media giant issued a warning about increased expenses, which overshadowed better-than-expected earnings. Although results in the past year have been impressive and hard to beat, tougher comparisons and higher spending are on investors’ minds, said Pacific Crest Securities’ analyst Evan Wilson, in a note. Facebook’s stock selloff weighing on tech-sector tracker
Facebook Inc. joins Twitter Inc. TWTR, -3.88% in dealing with what’s been a tough week for some Internet stocks. Twitter fell nearly 10% on Tuesday after the social-media company’s results showed slowing growth in new users and analysts downgraded the stock. Read: Facebook user growth may be slowing too
More stocks to watch: Hershey Co. HSY, -1.54% HSY, -1.54% shares fell as the chocolate maker missed profit expectations and cut its outlook.
WellPoint Inc. WLP, +1.83% shares rose after it posted adjusted earnings that beat forecasts.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. GT, +5.40% stock rallied after the tire maker reported third-quarter profit that was well above expectations.
U.S. Steel Corp. X, +5.06% shares jumped after posting a narrower-than-expected loss and higher revenue late Tuesday.
InvenSense Inc. INVN, -25.14% shares slid after the micro-electro-mechnical systems designer posted second-quarter results that fell short of market expectations. Pacific Crest downgraded shares to sector perform from underperform.
Orbital Sciences ORB, -16.79% slumped after one of the company’s rockets exploded soon after lift off. On Sunday, Orbital announced it was launching an Antares rocket with a Cygnus logistics spacecraft to the International Space Station. Here’s the dramatic footage.
Electronic Arts Inc. EA, +3.82% rallied after second-quarter results topped Wall Street forecasts and the video-game publisher raised its outlook. See Movers & Shakers for more on individual stocks.
Other markets: European stocks SXXP, +0.44% rose slightly, while Asian markets ADOW, -0.19% took a cue from Wall Street’s strong gains on Tuesday and powered ahead.
In the wake of the Fed announcement, 10-year Treasury note yield extended gains, but trimmed gains to trade 2 basis points higher to 2.35%. The dollar DXY, +0.37% strengthened against the Japanese yen to ¥108.9, while Gold GCZ4, -1.72% futures dropped about 1.5%. Oil CLZ4, -1.11% logged moderate gains.