Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


While you were sleeping: Wall Street mixed before Fed

While you were sleeping: Wall Street mixed before Fed

Dec 19 (BusinessDesk) – The focus was squarely on the end of the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting and policymakers’ take on whether the strength of the world’s largest economy warrants an easing of stimulus.

The FOMC is scheduled to release a statement at 2pm in Washington, followed by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s news conference at 2.30pm.

Opinions are widely divided on whether policymakers will announce a start to easing their monthly bond-buying today.

“We expect tapering in the first quarter of next year," Jim Russell, senior equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, told Reuters. “Today's announcement will be whether they will signal that today or wait until Janet Yellen becomes Fed chief.”

Yellen will succeed Bernanke when his term expires at the end of January.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.04 percent. Gains in shares of Exxon Mobil and Chevron outweighed declines in shares of Microsoft and Boeing, lifting the Dow.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.09 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.51 percent.

There were more signs of strength in the US economy. Housing starts soared 22.7 percent to a 1.09 million annualised rate, the highest since February 2008, according to Commerce Department data.

“The economy seems to be picking up and there’s quite a lot of pent-up demand,” David Sloan, a senior economist at 4Cast in New York, told Bloomberg News. “Even if the Fed does start to taper, I think the housing market will prove resilient.”

Indeed, some said the Fed should begin easing its pace of bond-buying now.

"The last piece of the economic puzzle is falling into place and the expansion is assured. The last argument against tapering fell today, let's hope the Fed hears the news," Chris Rupkey chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York, told Reuters.

Meanwhile shares of FedEx, considered an economic bellwether, were flat at US$139.05 after the company posted net income that fell short of analysts’ estimates, even as it lifted the range of its full-year earnings forecast.

FedEx is “on track to be where we need to be by the end of 2016,” FedEx Chief Financial Officer Alan Graf said on a conference call with analysts and investors, Bloomberg reported. “We are managing very aggressively the tradedown in international.”

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 0.9 percent increase from the previous close. The UK’s FTSE 100 eked out a 0.1 percent gain, while France’s CAC 40 climbed 1 percent and Germany’s DAX added 1.1 percent.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: She Means Business

As Foreman says in her conclusion, this is a business book. It opens with a brief biographical section followed by a collection of interesting tips for entrepreneurs... More>>


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news