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Overnight Markets: US stocks inch lower after Fed raises rates

Overnight Markets: US stocks inch lower after Fed raises rates

Wall Street inched lower on Wednesday in a choppy trade after the Federal Reserve raised US interest rates for the sixth time since the end of 2015, while a surge in the energy sector helped cap losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 45 points, or 0.18%, to end at 24,682, the S&P 500 lost five points, or 0.18%, to 2,712 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 19 points, or 0.26%, to7,345.

The US central bank increased the interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point and forecast at least two more hikes this year, signaling growing confidence that US tax cuts and government spending will boost the economy and inflation and lead to more aggressive future tightening.

The new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a news conference that the US central bank was trying to take the "middle ground" in raising rates.

Eight of S&P 500’s 11 main sectors posted declines. Energy shares led the gains, rising 2.6%, as oil futures hit a seven-week high. Consumer-staples shares were the worst performers, down 1.3%.

Shares of General Mills Inc. plunged 8.9% after earnings and an outlook that came in below expectations.

Facebook rebounded, rising 0.7%, but the stock remained down 8.5% for the week. MuleSoft Inc. added 5.3% after Salesforce.com Inc. said following Tuesday’s closing bell that it is buying the software company. Salesforce shares were down 2.7%.

Southwest Airlines Co. shares fell 4.8% after the company cut its outlook for first-quarter revenue per available seat mile to be in line with a year ago from previous guidance of a 1% to 2% increase.

Home-building shares jumped after existing-home sales snapped a two-month losing streak. D.R. Horton Inc. rose 2.9%, while Lennar Corp. advanced 1.8%.

Shares of Dow component Apple Inc. fell 2.3%, leading blue-chip decliners.

In Asia, share markets gained on Thursday in morning session after the US Fed raised interest rates for the first time this year.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.84%. South Korea's benchmark Kospi added 0.87%. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.45%. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai composite tacked on 0.18%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 reversed losses seen earlier to drift higher by 0.02%.

 

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