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Overnight Markets: Financials stifle Wall Street rally after Fed statement

Overnight Markets: Financials stifle Wall Street rally after Fed statement

US stocks closed mostly lower on Wednesday as interest rate-sensitive financial stocks dragged down the indexes after the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep key interest rates unchanged.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 142 points, or 0.55%, to 25,746, the S&P 500 lost eight points, or 0.29%, to 2,824 and the Nasdaq Composite added five points, or 0.07%, to 7,729.

At the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting, the Fed indicated it sees no further rate hikes this year, and released details of a plan to end its balance-sheet runoff by September.  

At a press conference following the release, Fed chair John Powell affirmed that the central bank would take a “patient” approach to monetary policy, citing mixed economic data and risks associated with Brexit and trade negotiations.

But while the indexes briefly turned positive after the statement’s release, financial stocks, which are sensitive to interest rates, put a damper on the rally. The financial sector sold off sharply in the last hour of trading, ending the session down 2.1%.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, six ended the session in negative territory.

Shares of Fedex Corp fell 3.5% after the global package delivery company slashed its 2019 profit forecast, citing slowing global trade growth.

Rival United Parcel Service Inc was also down, falling 2.2%. General Mills Inc. gained 2.2% after the packaged food company reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and boosted its full-year forecast.

Alphabet Inc. shares jumped 2%, shrugging off news that the European Union fined the Google parent €1.49 billion for abusing the dominance of its search engine.

In Asia, shares traded higher on Thursday in morning session after the US Fed announced overnight that it was keeping interest rates on hold.

In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.86%, while Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.29%. Japanese stock markets were closed on Thursday for a holiday.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.02%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.16%.

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