S&P 500 ends higher on growing hopes Fed will stay accommodative

US stocks rose with Nasdaq outperforming the other two major indexes September 15, 2020. — Reuters pic
US stocks rose with Nasdaq outperforming the other two major indexes September 15, 2020. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Sept 16 — US stocks rose yesterday as investors hoped the Federal Reserve would stick with its supportive policy stance as the central bank's two-day meeting got under way.

But the market was off its session highs as Apple Inc's shares erased most of their gains from early in the day. The stock ended flat after briefly turning lower in the wake of its product event, which included the rollout of a new virtual fitness service and a bundle of all its subscriptions, Apple One.

Apple's stock, which was up as much as about 3 per cent early in the session and rose 3 per cent on Monday, often dips after running up prior to that event.

The Nasdaq outperformed the other two major indexes, while the S&P 500 technology index gained 1 per cent, extending its recovery from a brutal sell-off earlier this month that had halted a Wall Street rally.

Investors were optimistic as the Fed began its first policy meeting since Chair Jerome Powell announced a more accommodative stance on inflation.

“While the economy is slowing, the upcoming macro news should be friendly, which should indicate the Fed will have no change in terms of policy,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

Data yesterday showed US factory output increased strongly in August. Separately, US import prices increased more than expected for the same month, supporting the view that inflation pressures were building up.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.27 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 27,995.6, the S&P 500 gained 17.66 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 3,401.2 and the Nasdaq Composite added 133.67 points, or 1.21 per cent, to 11,190.32.

The S&P 500 financial index fell 1.4 per cent, with Citigroup Inc dropping 6.9 per cent following a report that federal regulators were preparing to reprimand the U.S. lender for failing to improve its risk-management systems.

JPMorgan Chase & Co slipped 3.1 per cent as it lowered its full-year net interest income forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.38-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.19-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 63 new highs and 19 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 8.99 billion shares, compared with the 9.33 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. — Reuters

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