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While you were sleeping: Fed mixed on balance sheet

While you were sleeping: Fed mixed on balance sheet

By Margreet Dietz

July 6 (BusinessDesk) - Wall Street was mixed, as were US Federal Reserve policy makers about the timing to start unwinding the central bank’s balance sheet.

"Several preferred to announce a start to the process within a couple of months," according to minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s June meeting, released on Wednesday.

"However, some others emphasised that deferring the decision until later in the year would permit additional time to assess the outlook for economic activity and inflation,” the minutes noted.

Some policy makers are concerned about weak price growth.

“Several participants expressed concern that progress toward the committee's 2 percent longer-run inflation objective might have slowed and that the recent softness in inflation might persist,” according to the minutes.

The central bank will release its monetary policy report to Congress on Friday.

In the latest US economic data, a Commerce Department report showed factory goods orders fell 0.8 percent in May, following a revised 0.3 percent slide in April. May’s decline was larger than economists had predicted though April’s drop was smaller than initially reported.

In 3:13pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.03 percent. However, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.55 percent. In 2.58pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.09 percent.

US financial markets were closed on Tuesday for the July 4 holiday.

The Dow inched lower as declines in shares of Walt Disney and those of Exxon Mobil, recently 1.9 percent and 1.8 percent weaker respectively, outweighed advances in shares of Intel and those of Boeing, recently up 2.4 percent and 1.7 percent respectively.

Shares of Chevron also declined, down 1.7 percent in late afternoon trading, with other energy stocks as the price of oil slid amid reports that Russia does not support additional production cuts for OPEC and its non-OPEC partners to help ease the global glut.

"Energy I have a real hard time getting excited about,” Robert Phipps, director at Per Stirling Capital Management in Austin, Texas, told Reuters. "The technology has come along where the cost of production just keeps coming down and down.”

Shares of O’Reilly Automotive plunged, down 18.6 percent as of 3.33pm in New York, after the car parts retailer reported same-store sales for its latest quarter that fell short of its own guidance. Shares of rivals including Advance Auto Parts and AutoZone also slid, down 11.2 percent and 9.3 percent respectively.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 0.2 percent increase from the previous close. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.1 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index added 0.1 percent, and France’s CAC40 Index also gained 0.1 percent.


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