Stocks finish lower as Fed keeps rates on hold.
U.S. stocks finished lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve voted to keep interest rates on hold but left the door wide open to another hike in December.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) fell 0.3% to 2,806.84. The tech-driven Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) lost 0.5% to close at 7,530.89. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) pared losses to finish flat at 26,190.41.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) traded within a relatively narrow range on Thursday following a sharp drop during the previous session. The so-called “fear index” eventually settled at 16.99, having gained 3.9%.
In commodities, oil prices officially entered bear market territory on Thursday, as U.S. futures prices fell 20% from their most recent high set on Oct. 3. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract reached a session low of $60.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was last down 42 cents, or 0.7%, at $61.25 a barrel. Crude prices are now down in each of the last nine sessions.
The Federal Reserve on Thursday voted to keep monetary policy unchanged following a two-day meeting in Washington. In concluding its meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the target for the overnight rate in a range of 2% to 2.25%. Policymakers are widely expected to hike interest rates in December, marking the fourth such occurrence this year.
The Final Word: Rising interest rates present new challenges for investors, who are already navigating a more risk-averse climate marked by economic and political uncertainty. That being said, markets have shown renewed assertiveness over the past week, culminating in Wednesday’s post-election resurgence.