US stocks open flat ahead of key Fed statement

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York January 20, 2018. — AFP pic
People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York January 20, 2018. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, June 19 — Wall Street stocks opened flat today ahead of a Federal Reserve announcement expected to confirm the central bank’s more dovish tilt on monetary policy.

The Fed, while expected to leave interest rates unchanged, could tweak its statement to suggest an interest rate cut soon.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has adopted a more dovish tone in recent statement, citing slower growth amid ongoing trade conflicts and his press conference will claim the attention of markets worldwide.

The meeting comes as President Donald Trump amplifies his call for Powell to cut interest rates. The Fed chief has insisted repeatedly that political considerations don’t influence Fed decisions.

About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2 per cent at 26,524.00.

The broad-based S&P 500 was unchanged at 2,817.74, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 7,942.41.

Major US indices rose one per cent or more yesterday on optimism about the Fed and upbeat comments from the US and China ahead of next week’s G20 summit.

Futures markets expect the Fed to cut rates in July.

“The risk in front of today’s meeting, then, is a Fed (and Fed Chair) that doesn’t sound as dovish as the market would like it to sound, and specifically doesn’t create a strong impression that there is a strong probability of a rate cut at the July meeting,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare. — AFP

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