Thursday, 23 February 2017

Markets mixed as Fed seen ready to raise brick wall

Markets were mixed on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent but the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 percent to hit another record high.

Elsewhere, both the STOXX Europe 600 and the Nikkei 225 were flat.

Stocks were held back by concerns that US interest rates will rise after minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting earlier this month showed that many Fed officials indicated support for higher rates if the economy strengthened.

“A rate increase in March is most likely on the table even though the minutes don’t necessarily indicate that and it seems the Fed is prepping the market for it,” said Bob Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.

“Although we recognize that rates are below normal, the fact is that when the tightening process begins, the ‘full speed ahead’ of climbing stocks will run into a brick wall,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

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