US stocks tick down after Fed hikes rates

US stocks tick down after Fed hikes rates

New York: US stocks reversed early gains to end lower as investors continued to digest the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates for the third time in 2017.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday fell 76.77 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 24,508.66. The S&P 500 lost 10.84 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 2,652.01, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 19.27 points, or 0.28 percent, to 6,856.53.

The Fed announced on Wednesday that in view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the central bank decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.25 to 1.50 per cent.

“This change highlights that the (Federal Open Market) Committee expects the labor market to remain strong, with sustained job creation, ample opportunities for workers and rising wages,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday at her last press conference before her four-year term ends early next year.

The central bank officials still envisioned three more rate hikes in 2018, unchanged from their forecast in September, according to the latest quarterly projections released on Wednesday.

On the economic front, advance estimates of US retail and food services sales for November 2017 were $492.7 billion, an increase of 0.8 per cent from the previous month and well above market consensus of 0.3 per cent, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday.

“There’s still service consumption and December retail sales to worry about, but for now the fourth quarter growth rate seems safely back above 3 percent thanks to nonstore retailers more than anyone, again as reported after Thanksgiving,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial.


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