US stocks rise as Evergrande fears subside and investors await Fed meeting outcome

Traders
Traders on the trading floor of the NYSE. Brendan McDermid/Reuters
  • The Dow on Wednesday was on course to break a four-session losing streak.
  • A bond payment by an Evergrande unit helped calm nerves about the Chinese property developer’s debt crisis.
  • The Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day policy meeting.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Stocks advanced Wednesday, with investors latching onto some progress in the Evergrande debt crisis that sent global equities plummeting this week while they prepared for the Federal Reserve’s policy update.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained ground after four straight losses. The S&P 500 rose after falling in three of the past four sessions, including Monday’s slide on fears about Chinese property developer Evergrande defaulting on more than $US300 ($AU415) billion in debt.

On Wednesday, Evergrande unit Hengda said would make a coupon payment and the Chinese central bank pushed about 90 billion yuan ($US13.9 ($AU19) billion) of liquidity into the financial system. Evergrande on Thursday, however, has an interest payment due on one of its dollar bonds, which could stoke further volatility.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday:

The Fed will conclude its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. The central bank’s policy announcement will be accompanied by its summary of economic projections, or the so-called dot-plot chart of interest-rate expectations.

“We believe that the Fed will take a very measured tone, and will not yet announce a set date for tapering to begin. The Fed is likely to leave itself room to adjust if economic conditions continue to soften,” said Cheryl Smith, economist and portfolio manager at Trillium Asset Management, said in a note Wednesday.

The central bank is expected to start reducing the $US120 ($AU166) billion a month in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities it purchases each month as it winds down stimulus measures.

“Economic data, including expectations of GDP growth and payroll changes, have been softer over the last three months, and Treasury yields have been largely trendless. These factors reduce pressure on the Fed to begin its tapering process,” said Smith. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference at 2:30 pm Eastern Time on Thursday.

Around the markets, retail investors pushed $US1.9 ($AU3) billion into US stocks during the Evergrande-driven selloff on Monday, data from VandaTrack show, the fourth-biggest day of net purchases since the start of the pandemic.

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Gold declined by 0.3% to $US1,773.50 ($AU2,452) per ounce. The yield on the US 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.34%.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 1.3% to $US71.39 ($AU99) per barrel. Brent oil, oil’s international benchmark, picked up 1.3% to $US75.29 ($AU104).

Bitcoin slipped about 2%, trading near $US42,300 ($AU58,483) Wednesday morning.