US STOCKS edged higher in volatile trading yesterday after the US Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” and repeated concerns over slack in the labour market, standing firm against calls to overhaul its policy statement.
Interest rate projections, however, show Fed officials expect rate hikes, when they come, will do so at a quicker pace than previously forecast. The US dollar jumped against the euro and yen after the statement and data. Shares in financials, up 0.4 per cent, extended gains to end the session as one of the better performing S&P sectors took the lead on the S&P 500.
Stocks moved between gains and losses immediately after the statement before trending higher during Fed chair Janet Yellen’s press conference, only to pare gains towards the close as the S&P 500 reached a technical resistance point near its record intraday high. The Dow set a closing record.
Materials were the best performing sector, up 0.6 per cent, led by a 5.2 per cent gain in DuPont after activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management, among the biggest shareholders in the company, urged it to separate its high-growth businesses from those with strong cash flows. Housing stocks outperformed the market in the wake of Lennar earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.88 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 17,156.85, the S&P 500 gained 2.59 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 2,001.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was added 9.43 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 4,562.19.