Hawkish Fed Rattles Stocks

The release of Fed minutes unnerved investors in afternoon trading

Managing Editor
Oct 17, 2018 at 4:27 PM
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U.S. stocks closed lower today, as investors digested the newly released September Fed minutes -- temporarily pushing corporate earnings to the back burner. A majority of Fed officials now support a shift toward a more restrictive monetary policy, though central bankers differ over how long rates should remain high enough to constrain economic growth. In another day of volatile trading, the major equity indexes made a few forays onto positive ground, but were unable to find traction north of breakeven.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • What happens when there's a  52-week low pileup?
  • 2 pharma stocks popping on analyst attention.
  • Fresh headwinds for Home Depot stock.
  • Plus, the healthcare stock hit by earnings; the catalyst behind Roku's rally; and oil slides below $70.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 25,706.68) gave up 91.7 points, or 0.4%, for the day. Eighteen Dow stocks closed in the black, with Goldman Sachs (GS) as the top performer, finishing up about 3%. Meanwhile, IBM (IBM) paced the 12 losers with a 7.6% post-earnings drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,809.21) shed 0.7 point, or 0.03%, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 7,642.70) lost 2.8 points, or 0.04%, for the day.

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 17.40) today let go of 0.2 point, or 1.3%.

Closing Indexes Summary Oct 17

NYSE and Nasdaq stats oct 17

5 Items on our Radar Today

  1. Today, Canada became the second country, and first industrialized country, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised the recreational legalization during his campaign. (CNBC)
  2. Anonymous sources told Reuters that Amazon (AMZN) is targeting Queretaro  state in Mexico for its fourth distribution center in the country. The as-yet-unconfirmed plans reportedly involve the construction of a 1-million square foot warehouse. (Reuters)
  3.  Healthcare stock suffers post-earnings blow.
  4.  Roku rally sparked by Mexico ban reversal.  
  5.  Nucor stock looks to break earnings slump.

Corporate Earnings Oct 17

Unusual Options Activity October 17

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Oil Breaks Below $70 as Supplies Surge

Oil futures suffered after the weekly increase in U.S. stockpiles more than tripled analyst estimates at 6.5 million barrels. November-dated crude shed $2.17, or 3%, to settle at $69.75 per barrel. 

Gold futures closed lower as the U.S. dollar firmed, with December-dated gold settling down $3.60, or 0.3%, at $1,227.40 an ounce. The precious metal extended its decline in electronic trading after the release of the Fed meeting minutes.

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