U.S. Stocks Rise as Fed Confirms Dovish Pivot
U.S. stocks extended their gains Wednesday after the Federal Reserve offered further reassurance that it will hold off on raising interest rates for the time being. Cryptocurrencies reported a mixture of modest gains and losses as volumes backed off from their yearly highs.
Stocks Extend Rally
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 63.12 points, or 0.2%, to close at 25,954,44. The blue-chip index has risen in five of the past six sessions and looks poised to reach 26,000 this week.
The broad S&P 500 Index finished up 0.2% to 2,784.70. Materials stocks led six of 11 primary sectors higher, with most of the gains concentrated in primary industry.
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index pared gains to finish flat at 7,489.07.
Stocks are in the midst of an eight-week rally, but the following chart spells trouble for the S&P 500 Index.
Fed Puts on the Brakes
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday provided more details as to why it decided to be patient with normalizing monetary policy. In the official transcript of last month’s meeting, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members cited stock market volatility and weaker global economic growth as the main obstacles standing in the way of policy normalization.
According to the minutes, there were a “variety of considerations that supported a patient approach.” Additionally, “a patient posture would allow time for a clearer picture of the international trade policy situation and the state of the global economy to emerge and, in particular, could allow policymakers to reach a firmer judgment about the extent and persistence of the economic slowdown in Europe and China.”
The Fed’s dovish pivot last month allowed the stock market to extend a bullish revival that began just after Christmas. Central bankers will hold their next policy meeting next month. The March interest rate statement will be accompanied by a revised summary of economic projections covering GDP, unemployment and inflation.
Crypto Markets Flatline
The combined value of all cryptocurrencies hovered north of $135 billion on Wednesday, where it was little changed compared with the previous day. Markets succumbed to a fresh wave of selling overnight, as bitcoin and the major altocins reported modest declines. By the early morning, most of the losses had disappeared.
Trading volumes dipped below $30 billion but were well off the highs from Tuesday. An influx of capital into the crypto ecosystem could make for volatile trading conditions in the near term.
Bitcoin was last seen trading at $3,983.49, according to CoinMarketCap, an aggregate data provider. The bitcoin price is trading hands well north of $4,000 on Bitfinex.
Ethereum’s price was little changed at $147.83. XRP edged down 1.7% to $0.30275. EOS extended its rally, climbing 5.3% to $3.84. Read more: Litecoin, EOS, Binance Coin, Maker: Altcoins Leading the Charge.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.