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S&P 500 Hovering Near Record Highs Ahead of Fed Decision

Stock MarketsApr 28, 2021 18:24
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By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P 500 held steady near record highs Wednesday, as gains in energy were offset by a fall in tech stocks ahead of a key decision from the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 was up 0.1% and had hit a intraday record of 4,196.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, or 110 points, and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%.

Energy stocks were boosted by a rise in oil prices after data showing a smaller-than-expected build in weekly U.S. crude inventories cooled investor worries that rising global infections will soften demand.

Crude oil inventories edged higher by 90,000 barrels last week, compared with analysts' expectations for a build of 659,000 barrels.

Tech, meanwhile, was under pressure as investors digested mixed earnings, while a rise in bond yields also weighed.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) reported first-quarter results that topped analysts and announced a $50 billion share buyback, sending its shares more than 3% higher.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) fell more than 2% even as the tech giant reported better-than-expected results, underpinned by strength in its cloud business. The results were well-received on Wall Street, with several analysts lifting their price targets on the stock.

"We maintain our outperform and are raising our price target to $310 vs. $300 reflecting the cloud strength seen this quarter," Wedbush said in a note.

Chip stocks slipped more than 1% as Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) gave up its intraday gains despite posting blowout first-quarter results.

Spotify Technology (NYSE:SPOT) slumped about 9% despite reporting quarterly results above consensus estimates and guiding for a smaller than expected loss for the second quarter.

Boeing Co (NYSE:BA), down 1%, was a drag on the Dow as the aircraft maker's narrower-than-expected loss didn’t offset concerns that aviation demand will continue to be challenged as the pandemic impact continued.

Bond yields creeped higher ahead of the Fed's monetary policy decision due later.

The Fed is widely expected to leave rates unchanged, but investors will be looking to chairman Jerome Powell's press conference for any cues on the future path of monetary policy.

"During the press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will have yet another opportunity to defend the Committee’s commitment to ongoing accommodation as the domestic economy appears to be gaining momentum," Stifel said in a note.

In other news, President Biden is expected to pitch his $1.8 trillion "American Families Plan" to Congress later today. Biden plans to fund the package, which will include funding for additional expenditures on childcare and education, by nearly doubling the capital gains tax for Americans making over $1 million per year.

S&P 500 Hovering Near Record Highs Ahead of Fed Decision

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