U.S. Stocks Mostly Higher Ahead Of Fed Announcement

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(RTTNews) – Stocks are mostly higher during trading on Wednesday, as traders await the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement. The major averages have all moved to the upside following the mixed performance in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are off their best levels of the day but still in positive territory. The Dow is up 120.00 points or 0.4 percent at 30,484.83, the Nasdaq is up 154.34 points or 1.4 percent at 10,982.69 and the S&P 500 is up 27.68 points or 0.7 percent at 3,763.16.

The strength on Wall Street comes ahead of the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated monetary policy announcement later in the day.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 91.8 percent chance of a 75 basis point increase in interest rates, which would mark the biggest rate hike in nearly 30 years.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected decrease in U.S. retail sales in the month of May.

The report showed retail sales fell by 0.3 percent in May after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.7 percent in April. Economists had expected retail sales to edge up by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.9 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding the steep drop in sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers, retail sales rose by 0.5 percent in May following a 0.4 percent increase in April. Ex-auto sales were expected to advance by 0.8 percent.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed U.S. import prices increased by less than expected in the month of May.

The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6 percent in May after rising by a revised 0.4 percent in April.

Economists had expected import prices to jump by 1.1 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report showed export prices surged by 2.8 percent in May following a 0.8 percent increase in April. Export prices were expected to shoot up by 1.3 percent.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York also released a report showing regional manufacturing activity was little changed in the month of June.

Biotechnology stocks are seeing considerable strength on the day, resulting in a 2.1 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.

Significant strength is also visible among transportation stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent gain being posted by the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

Retail, networking and steel stocks are also showing strong moves to the upside, while oil stocks are moving lower along with the price of crude oil.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 1.7 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after moving sharply lower over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 6.9 basis points at 3.414 percent.