Date
16 November 2018
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

US stocks fall as Fed minutes send bond yields higher

US stocks finished lower in a choppy session Wednesday on renewed worries over higher interest rates following the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting.

Investors became nervous as the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note climbed to a four-year high, prompting a bout of across-the-board selling of equities. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.67 percent to 24,797.78, while the broader S&P 500 index slid 0.55 percent, to 2,701.33.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.22 percent, to 7,218.23.

The Fed’s January meeting minutes, which were released Wednesday, showed the central bank’s rate-setting committee was more confident about the need to keep raising rates, Reuters reports.

Most policymakers were of the view that inflation will perk up amid an improving economy.

Stocks initially reacted positively, with each of the major indexes touching session highs.

But they reversed course later as bond yields climbed to four-year highs on the likelihood of further rate increases this year.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 13/32 in price to yield 2.9408 percent, from 2.893 percent late on Tuesday.

Expectations for a quarter-point hike at the Fed’s next meeting in March are currently 93.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. The Fed has forecast three rate hikes in 2018.

After inflation worries knocked the S&P 500 down more than 10 percent from its Jan. 26 high, stocks had rebounded in recent sessions as yields on the 10-year US Treasury note had stabilized around the 2.9 percent mark.

But the index has been unable to convincingly hold above its 50-day moving average, seen as a key support level, Reuters noted.

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