Tech stocks rise but S&P 500, Dow trade mostly flat ahead of expected Fed rate hike

U.S. stock benchmarks saw muted action on Wednesday as investors awaited a decision from the Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to increase rates by a quarter of a percentage point and offer details on path forward for monetary policy.

What did are markets doing?

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.01% was flat at 2,786, with moves for the broad-market gauge being supported by a 0.4% rise in technology shares and a 0.5% climb for the consumer-discretionary sector.

The telecom sector, a tiny sector consisting chiefly of AT&T Inc. T, -5.22%  off 5.2%, and Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, -2.25% down 2.3%, was down 3.6%, leading the laggards among the S&P 500’s 11 sectors.

The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.34% meanwhile, added 27 points, or 0.3%, to 7,730, but did set an intraday record 7,748.96 before paring those gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.05% edged 10 points, or less than 0.1%, lower to 25,311.

Wednesday’s muted moves follow a pattern of small gains amid low volatility. The Cboe Volatility Index VIX, -0.73% is trading at about 12, near its lowest levels of the year.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks RUT, -0.31% which closed at an all-time high, was off 0.3% at 1,677.46.

Read: Fund managers are overweight U.S. stocks for first time in 15 months

What’s driving the market?

Investors have priced in expectations that the Fed will lift the federal-funds rate to a range between 1.75% to 2%, from 1.5% to 1.75%, marking the second rate hike this year and the seventh move since the start of the tightening cycle in December of 2015.

A statement from the central bank is due at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, followed by a press conference with Chairman Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

Wednesday’s early action comes after a historic meeting

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