Dow Gains 11 Points as Market Catches Its Breath

Michael Haddad

Hugging the Break-Even Line. The market closed with mixed results on Thursday, but all three major indexes stayed close to the break-even line. Oil prices fell back into a bear market, dragging down energy stocks, which were the worst performers in the S&P 500 today. Qualcomm and Roku tumbled after reporting gloomy earnings outlooks. In today’s After the Bell, we…

…decipher the small language changes in the Fed statement; …look at how the housing sector is feeling the pinch of rate hikes; …and ponder why the Fed ignored the October stock selloff.

A Tepid Reaction to the Fed

As expected, the Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged at a range of 2.0% to 2.25% at Thursday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, suggesting the central bank will remain on the rate-normalizing path it’s currently on. The market, unsurprisingly, didn’t react much to the news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 10.92 points, or 0.04%, to 26,191.22, while the S&P 500 slipped 9.53 points, or 0.3%, to 2804.36, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 39.87 points, or 0.5%, to close at 7530.89.

Despite the overall nonevent, there were some small but notable language changes in the Fed’s statement, including mentions of strong growth in household spending and weakening fixed investment among businesses.

Although minor, the acknowledgment of a changing economy under tightened financial conditions is an encouraging sign that the Fed is diligently monitoring and possibly adjusting its thinking on its policy path, according to Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock .

“We think the Fed would do well to pause and assess the evolving economic conditions and inflation-creating influences, so as to evaluate how much policy hikes would further injure many parts of

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