U.S. stocks on Friday were set to end the week lower, with equity-index futures on track to open lower a day after the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady, as expected, and appeared to affirm expectations for a hike to interest rates in December.
How are benchmarks performing?
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMZ8, -0.41% were down 156 points, or 0.6%, at 26,044, and those for the S&P 500 index ESZ8, -0.47% were off 18.45 points, or 0.7%, at 2,790.25, while Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ8, -0.75% were retreating 58 points, or 0.8%, at 7,108.50.
On Thursday, the Dow DJIA, +0.04% gained 10.92 points to 26,191.22, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.25% shed 7.06 points, or 0.3%, to 2,806.83 and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.53% fell 39.87 points, or 0.5%, to 7,530.88.
For the week, the Dow is poised to register an increase of 3.6%, the S&P 500 was on pace to return 3.1% over the past five sessions, while the Nasdaq was looking at an increase of 2.4% over the same period, as of Thursday’s close.
What’s driving the market?
Chairman Jerome Powell’s Fed held benchmark rates at a range between 2% and 2.25% and said that the central bank “expects further gradual increases in the target range for the federal-funds rate.”
The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee delivered no surprises to Wall Street investors, however, investors will continue to wrestle with policy makers’ hopes to normalize interest rates after a decade of easy-money policies.
The key factors that have renewed doubts in the minds of investors is an unceasing decline in oil prices, which has raised questions about the health of the global economy, and the health of the world’s second-largest economy, China, remains a persistent source of anxiety on Wall Street.
Recent data indicates that auto