After starting Wednesday on strong footing, stocks dropped following the release of the latest Fed minutes.
All three major indices finished little changed for the day, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq slightly in the red.
Still, for the ninth consecutive trading day, the Dow once again managed to claw its way to a fresh all-time high.
First up, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 20,774.02, +31.02, (+0.15%)
- S&P 500: 2,363.32, -2.06, (-0.09%)
- Nasdaq: 5,861.02, -4.95, (-0.09%)
- US 10-year yield: 2.422%, -0.007
- WTI Crude: $US53.56 per barrel, -0.77, 1.42%
1. The Fed plans to raise rates “fairly soon” if the economy remains on track, according to minutes from the January 31/February 1 policy meeting released Wednesday. The Fed would like to see more progress towards its target of 2% inflation, and even more evidence that the labour market is improving.
2. Existing-home sales jumped to a 10-year high. Sales of existing condos, co-ops, townhomes, and single-family houses increased by 3.3%, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the highest since February 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors.
3. Republicans face wrath at town-hall events. “I’m on Obamacare. If it wasn’t for Obamacare, we wouldn’t be able to afford insurance,” said Chris Peterson, a farmer from Sen. Chuck Grassley’s home state of Iowa. “Don’t repeal Obamacare — improve it.”
4. The Russian ruble tumbled against the US dollar. The petro-currency was down by 1.1% at 58.0443 per dollar in the late afternoon. Earlier, data showed that Russian retail sales fell by 2.3% year-over-year in January, better than forecasts.
5. President Donald Trump is considering adding two former employees of controversial mortgage lender OneWest to his administration, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. OneWest, which was purchased under the name IndyMac by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s investment firm, has been criticised by Democrats and advocacy groups for aggressive foreclosure processes following the financial crisis.
6. Bitcoin approached an all-time high. Buying early on in US trade has run bitcoin up 1.4%, or almost $US16, to $US1,123 a coin. Wednesday’s bid has the cryptocurrency higher for a ninth straight session and threatening its all-time high of about $US1,161.88.
7. Papa John’s tumbles after same-store sales miss big. The American pizza company announced fourth-quarter earnings that increased from last year and beat analysts expectations, however, same-store sales growth fell short.