stock market

U.S. Stocks Reverse Gains as Fed Signals for March Rate Increase

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 declined on Wednesday while the Nasdaq broke even.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market finished lower on Wednesday, giving up big intraday gains after the Federal Reserve confirmed its intent to begin raising interest rates in March.

Wall Street’s major indices were mixed-to-lower at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 129.64 points, or 0.4%, to 34,168.09.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks declined 0.2% to settle at 4,349.93. Most sectors finished in negative territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) flat-lined at 13,543,12.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) was little changed on Wednesday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 26.90 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 0.2% at 31.11.

In commodities, oil prices rose on Wednesday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.03, or 1.2%, to $86.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, rose $1.06, or 1.2%, to $89.26 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices plunged, as the April futures contract declined $36.00, or 1.9%, to $1,819.00 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures declined 39 cents, or 1.6%, to trade at $23.51 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: Equity markets flipped red on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled its intent to raise interest rates beginning in March. The Federal Open Market Committee will hold its next policy meeting on Mar. 15-16.