Wall St. advances ahead of Fed policy meeting

Wall St. advances ahead of Fed policy meeting
# 19 March 2019 03:12 (UTC +04:00)

Banks and tech helped lead Wall Street higher on Monday, while Boeing and Facebook were a drag and investors eyed this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for affirmation of its commitment to “patient” monetary policy, ONA reports citing Reuters.

Following the S&P 500’s best week since November, the benchmark index ended the session about 3.3 percent below its all-time high reached in September. All three major U.S. indexes closed in positive territory.

The Dow’s fourth straight advance ran into headwinds from Boeing Co, which fell 1.8 percent as the company faced increasing scrutiny following a fatal crash in Ethiopia on March 10. The drop in shares of the world’s largest plane maker extended last week’s 10.3 percent decline and was the heaviest weight on the blue-chip index.

The Fed’s two-day policy meeting begins on Tuesday. Investors anticipate the U.S. central bank will reinforce its dovish approach toward further interest rate hikes.

“There’s always trepidation going into a Fed meeting,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “Anything that gives visibility to the potential for future rate hikes is going to keep people on the sidelines.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 65.23 points, or 0.25 percent, to 25,914.1, the S&P 500 gained 10.46 points, or 0.37 percent, to 2,832.94 and the Nasdaq Composite added 25.95 points, or 0.34 percent, to 7,714.48.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, eight closed in the black, with energy, consumer discretionary and financial companies enjoying the biggest percentage gains.

The prospect of extended OPEC supply cuts sent crude prices to four-month highs, which boosted energy companies, while news of upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs), notably from ride-hailing service Lyft, sent the banking sector higher.

“With markets close to all-time highs again, you see IPOs popping out of the woodwork,” Ghriskey said.

The communications services sector was the largest percentage loser, weighed down by Facebook Inc.