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US Stocks End Mixed After Fed Rate Cut 09/18 16:21

   Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Wednesday after the Federal 
Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate for a second time this year, citing 
slowing global economic growth and uncertainty over U.S. trade conflicts.

   (AP) -- Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Wednesday after the 
Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate for a second time this year, 
citing slowing global economic growth and uncertainty over U.S. trade conflicts.

   Gains in banks, utilities and technology companies outweighed losses 
elsewhere in the market, which had been broadly lower until the last hour of 
trading. Bond yields moved lower.

   Stocks initially declined after the central bank announced the widely 
expected rate cut. Its policy statement failed to indicate whether more rate 
cuts were likely this year, though the central bank left the door open for 
additional rate cuts if the economy weakens.

   "We're not on a preset course," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in an 
afternoon press conference.

   Even so, diverging opinions within the members of the Fed's policymaking 
committee left some investors feeling uneasy about what the Fed may do next.

   "The (Fed) cut rates, as expected, but the quantity and necessity of future 
rate cuts were called into question," Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist 
at CFRA, wrote in a research note.

   The S&P 500 index inched 1.03 points higher, or less than 0.1%, to 3,006.73. 
The benchmark index is now within 0.7% of its all-time high set in July.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded after being down most of the day, 
adding 36.28 points, or 0.1%, to 27,147.08. The Nasdaq slid 8.62 points, or 
0.1%, to 8,177.39.

   The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks bore the brunt of the 
selling, dropping 9.95 points, or 0.6%, to 1,568.34.

   The Fed is trying to combat threats to the U.S. economy, including 
uncertainties caused by President Donald Trump's trade war with China, slower 
global growth and a slump in American manufacturing.

   Investors largely expected the Fed to cut short-term interest rates by 
another quarter of a percentage point, following a similar cut in late July. 
The rate, which is now at a range of 1.75% to 2%, influences many consumer and 
business loans.

   A look at how each of the central bank's policymakers voted offered few 
clues as to the likelihood of further rate cuts.

   Fed officials approved the rate cut 7-3, with two officials preferring to 
keep rates unchanged and one arguing for a bigger half-point cut. It was the 
most Fed dissents in three years. The policy committee also remains split on 
whether rates should be a quarter-point lower, higher or the same as they are 
now by the end of this year.

   The divisions among Fed officials underscore the challenges confronting 
Powell in guiding the Fed at time of high uncertainty in the U.S. economy. They 
also fuel doubts among investors looking for certainty on interest rate policy.

   "The Fed didn't say a lot that was new, but there are some people who were 
just holding on and hoping against hope that there would be some kind of dovish 
surprise, and there wasn't," said Sameer Samana, senior global market 
strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

   The broader market has been wobbling this week and is so far on track for a 
slight weekly loss after three consecutive weeks of gains. Those gains came as 
both sides in the U.S.-China trade war took steps to ease tensions ahead of 
planned negotiations in October.

   But, the volatility has been taking its toll. The S&P 500 is eking modest 
gains of 2.2% for the quarter with just a few weeks left. That marks a pullback 
from gains of 3.8% in the second quarter and a notable deceleration from the 
13.1% rise during the first quarter.

   Bond prices rose and the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.80% from 
1.81% late Tuesday. Investors typically shift money into bonds when they grow 
more concerned about the economy's health.

   Financial stocks recovered from an early slide. JPMorgan gained 1% and 
Citigroup rose 0.9%.

   A disappointing drop in quarterly profit weighed on FedEx shares, which 
tumbled 12.9%, making it the biggest decliner in the S&P 500. The package 
delivery giant also cut its full-year forecast.

   Adobe fell 1.8% after giving investors a weak profit forecast. 

   Chewy slid 6.1% to $28.39 after the online pet store's fiscal second quarter 
loss was far wider than Wall Street had expected. The company debuted on the 
New York Stock Exchange in June at $22 per share and closed at $34.99 on its 
first day.

   Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly higher. Asian stocks ended 

   Oil prices continued pulling back from a 14% spike on Monday as Saudi Arabia 
brings back production at an oil facility attacked over the weekend. Benchmark 
U.S. crude fell $1.23 to settle at $58.11 per barrel. Brent crude, the 
international standard, dropped 95 cents to close at $63.60.

   Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.66 per gallon. Heating oil declined 2 
cents to $1.97 per gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.64 per 1,000 cubic 

   Gold rose $2.40 to $1,507.50 per ounce, silver fell 22 cents to $17.80 per 
ounce and copper fell 1 cent to $2.60 per pound.

   The dollar rose to 108.35 Japanese yen from 108.20 yen on Tuesday. The euro 
weakened to $1.1032 from $1.1066.


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