published on December 11, 2019 - 1:23 PM
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(AP) — Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and signaled that it expects to leave them alone in 2020. The Fed’s latest policy statement dropped a phrase that referred to “uncertainties” surrounding the economic outlook, suggesting it’s less worried about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war. Technology and industrial stocks led the gains. The S&P 500 index rose 9 points, or 0.3%, to 3,141. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 29 points, or 0.1%, to 27,911. The Nasdaq rose 37 points, or 0.4%, to 8,654. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Major U.S. stock indexes edged higher in afternoon trading Wednesday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and signaled that it expects to leave them alone in 2020.

The central bank had been expected to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged this month after lowering it three times this year in an effort to shield the economy from the fallout of U.S. trade conflicts and slowing global growth.

The S&P 500 was on track for a slight gain after a two-day losing streak as investors continued to wait for signs of progress in the trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

Wall Street is hoping that both sides can avoid a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods that include phones, laptops and other popular products. The new tariffs are scheduled to take effect Sunday and would mark an escalation in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Reports have suggested that the new tariffs could be delayed. Tension over the next move has made for choppy trading this week that has pushed the major indexes lower.

“We’re in a wait-and-see mode going into Friday to see if we have any more clarity on the trade tariffs that go into effect on Sunday,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “The market is kind of sitting on its hands right now.”

Technology and industrial stocks led the gains. Skyworks Solutions climbed 4.6% and Parker-Hannifin rose 1.8%.

Banks and real estate companies lagged the market. U.S. Bancorp slid 1.2% and mall owner Simon Property Group lost 2.4%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.79% from 1.83% late Tuesday.

Some companies were making big moves after releasing earnings reports. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet surged 15.9% after reporting surprisingly good third-quarter profit and revenue. GameStop plunged 16.4% after issuing a surprising loss and cutting its profit forecast.

Home Depot dropped 2% after giving investors a weak sales forecast.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.3% as of 3:27 p.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 13 points, or 0.1%, to 27,895. The Nasdaq gained 0.4%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.1%. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Stock indexes in Europe closed broadly higher.

FED WATCH: The Fed’s decision leaves its benchmark rate, which influences many consumer and business loans, in a low range of 1.5% to 1.75%. In a sign of the Fed’s confidence about the economy, its latest policy statement dropped a phrase it had previously used that referred to “uncertainties” surrounding the economic outlook. That suggests that the Fed is less worried about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war or overseas developments.

LOW GAS: Chevron fell 1.1% after the energy company warned investors about a potential charge of up to $11 billion because of lower long-term prices for oil and natural gas. The huge fourth-quarter write-down underscores the challenge posed by rising production that has prevented energy prices from increasing sharply during a time of increasing global demand.

NOT A GOOD LOOK: Shares in American Eagle Outfitters slumped 6.5% after the clothing chain reported third-quarter results that were largely in line with Wall Street’s expectations, but noted it saw softer demand for certain apparel categories.


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