Dow Drops Triple Digits After Fed

Oil prices hit a four-month high after an inventories surprise

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Mar 20, 2019 at 4:31 PM

The major market indexes spent the early part of the session in the red, as traders eyed dismal FedEx (FDX) guidance and exercised caution ahead of the highly anticipated Fed statement. However, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all turned briefly higher in afternoon trading, after the central bank indicated there will be no additional rate hikes in 2019, and outlined a plan to end the reduction of its balance sheet by September. While the Fed cut its economic growth forecast for the year, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said "the U.S. economy is in a good place, and we will use our monetary policy tools to keep it there." 

Nevertheless, financial stocks -- which benefit from higher rates -- fell on the news, with Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) dragging the Dow to a triple-digit loss by the close. The S&P also reversed lower to finish in the red, though the Nasdaq eked out a slim gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 25,745.67) traded in a range of nearly 259 points on both sides of breakeven, but ultimately suffered a loss of 141.7 points, or 0.6%. Only seven Dow stocks settled higher, led by a 1.1% gain for Home Depot (HD). GS stock paced the 23 declining blue chips, falling 3.4%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,824.23) gave up 8.3 points, or 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 7,728.97) outperformed its peers, edging 5 points, or 0.07%, higher.

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 13.91) added 0.4 point, or 2.6%.

Closing Indexes Summary March 20

NYSe and Nasdaq Stats March 20

5 Items on our Radar Today

  1. Google was slapped with a $1.7 billion antitrust penalty in the European Union (EU), with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager saying the company "abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform." (Reuters)
  2. Finland was once again christened the world's happiest country, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2019 World Happiness Report. Denmark and Norway took runner-up and third place on the list, respectively. (USA Today)
  3. 2 drug stocks flashing buy.
  4. Short seller: This stock could fall to $1.
  5. Jefferies thinks CryoPort stock could double.

Corporate Earnings March 20

Unusual Options Activity March 20

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Oil Jumps on Inventories Surprise; Gold Reverses After Fed

Oil bounced back today, after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a surprise drop in weekly crude inventories. April-dated crude futures added 80 cents, or 1.4%, to end at $59.83 per barrel -- a fresh four-month high.

Gold for April delivery ended the session down $4.80, or 0.4%, at $1,301.70 an ounce. However, the malleable metal turned higher in electronic trading, as the dollar weakened in the wake of the Fed announcement.


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