April 18, 2024

Wall Street Indexes Waver as Traders Look to Fed

Mr. Bernanke is expected to discuss the job market, inflation and the prospects for economic growth following the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day policymaking meeting. He is expected to speak with reporters at an afternoon news conference.

Investors will also be watching for signs of whether the Fed plans to begin raising interest rates. The central bank’s $600 billion bond-buying program is set to end as scheduled in June.

At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 21.31 points, or 0.17 percent, while the broader Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was flat. The technology heavy Nasdaq gained 1.17 points.

The DAX index in Frankfurt rose 0.83 percent, the FTSE in London gained 0.15 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.84 percent.

In corporate news, the Boeing Company, the plane maker and military contractor, ’reported earnings that beat analysts’ expectations. The company maintained its profit and revenue expectations for the year and said it still expected to deliver its delay-prone 787 aircraft in the third quarter.

The specialty glass maker Corning said its revenue surged on strong sales of glass for flat-screen televisions, computers and mobile devices.

And Whirlpool, the appliance maker, said its net income increased by 3 percent as it sold more appliances even after raising prices to combat higher costs for raw materials.

Shares also got a lift from another round of corporate deals. Johnson Johnson said it would buy the medical device maker Synthes Inc. for $21.3 billion, and the phone company CenturyLink said it would purchase Savvis for $2.5 billion.

The Commerce Department reported that businesses increased their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in March.

“The manufacturing sector remains the real bright spot of the economy,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at the brokerage house Avalon Partners.

Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.36 percent from 3.31 percent late Tuesday. In Europe, speculation about whether Greece will restructure continues to put pressure on its bonds prices. The yields on the 10-year Greek bond surged to 15.8 percent on Wednesday. Other countries struggling with debt also saw yields rise. Portugal’s 10-year bond had a yield of 9.37 percent, while Ireland’s yield was 10.14 percent.

New data released Tuesday by Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency showed that Greece had failed to get a grip on its public finances, almost a year after it adopted sweeping austerity measures as a condition of an international rescue package.

Greece’s deficit was 10.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, Eurostat reported. The deficit exceeded the 9.6 percent target set last fall by the government and the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. Public debt swelled to 142.8 percent of G.D.P., Eurostat said.

In the Asian markets, shares closed higher after better-than-expected corporate earnings and rising consumer confidence sent Wall Street its highest levels in nearly three years.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 1.4 percent to 9,691.84, as stocks in the country’s behemoth export sector rose.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.5 percent to 23,892.84.

Oil prices were essentially unchanged Wednesday ahead of the Fed meeting. Benchmark crude for June delivery was down 4 cents at $112.17 a barrel in electronic trading in New York.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=83ede685edcc3fe1cd2d351cc5f1aaef

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