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17 Mar 2021 | 22:18

US close: Stocks rise after Fed hikes growth forecasts

(Sharecast News) - Stocks on Wall Street closed in the green on Wednesday, after the Fed upped its economic forecasts following its two-day March meeting. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.58% at 33,015.37, the S&P 500 added 0.29% to 3,974.12, and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.4% firmer at 13,525.20.

The Dow closed 189.42 points higher on Wednesday, rebounding from its retreat away from record highs on Tuesday.

Late in the session, the Federal Open Market Committee released its latest policy decision, standing pat on interest rates, with most members expecting near-zero rates to remain until at least the end of 2023.

It did hike its forecast for economic growth, however, to 6.5% for this year, compared to the 4.2% it predicted in December, on the back of the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and government stimulus money.

"The recovery has progressed more quickly than generally expected," said Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.

"While we welcome these positive developments, no one should be complacent."

Powell also said that weaker growth outside the United States was not a concern, quipping that when the American economy shows strength, that tended to support activity globally too.

"I'd love to see Europe growing faster, I'd love to see vaccination rollout going more smoothly but I don't worry too much about us in the near term," Powell said at a press conference after the two-day meeting.

"I think we're in a good place.

"It's all ahead of us but the data should get stronger fairly quickly and remain strong for some time."

Markets.com chief market analyst Neil Wilson said it looked like the Fed was satisfied to let the economy run hot, and not intervene.

"It's truly remarkable that the Fed can say the economy will rebound by 6.5% this year and not change policy," he said.

"Even with growth in excess of 3% in 2022 and 2% in 2023, it still sees no need to tighten policy."

That, Wilson said, reflected what participants knew already about the Fed's view on employment and inflation, but added that it was no less remarkable for it.

"I would have expected more policymakers to move their dots in a bit, but the median plot did not move into 2023.

"Doves rule - there is not enough of a majority yet seeing any need to act to raise rates."

On the macro front, the total number of mortgage applications in the US fell 2.2% in the week ended 12 March, following a 1.3% drop in the prior week for the fifth decline in six weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Applications to refinance a home loan slipped 4.2% on a weekly basis and were 39% lower than a year ago, while applications to purchase a home rose 1.8% week-on-week and were up 5% year-on-year.

Elsewhere, housing starts in the US fell 10.3% on a monthly basis in February, following January's 5.1% decline, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, while building permits dropped 10.8% in the same period, erasing all of January's increase.

In the corporate space, companies whose fate remained strongly tied to an economic reopening were in positive territory, with Boeing up 3.28%, Carnival ahead 2.41% and Royal Caribbean 2.16% firmer.

Dow Jones - Risers

Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) $66.01 4.48% Boeing Co. (BA) $263.59 3.28% Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) $233.99 3.17% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $224.11 1.93% Amgen Inc. (AMGN) $244.34 1.67% Intel Corp. (INTC) $65.78 1.54% JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $155.09 1.03% American Express Co. (AXP) $144.68 0.96% Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) $344.95 0.95% Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $157.92 0.93%

Dow Jones - Fallers

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $54.10 -1.11% Walmart Inc. (WMT) $132.28 -0.83% Visa Inc. (V) $223.02 -0.75% Home Depot Inc. (HD) $280.03 -0.73% Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $352.18 -0.68% Apple Inc. (AAPL) $124.76 -0.65% Salesforce.Com Inc. (CRM) $213.12 -0.63% Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $49.42 -0.50% Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $128.42 -0.40% Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $160.87 -0.37%

S&P 500 - Risers

Lennar Corp. Class A (LEN) $100.95 13.80% Expedia Group Inc. (EXPE) $185.27 5.04% Fluor Corp. (FLR) $23.48 4.92% Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) $23.08 4.86% D. R. Horton Inc. (DHI) $86.99 4.48% United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL) $62.45 4.41% Baker Hughes Company Class A (BKR) $23.98 4.17% TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) $61.03 4.11% Brighthouse Financial, Inc. (BHF) $45.42 4.01% PulteGroup Inc. (PHM) $50.99 3.87%

S&P 500 - Fallers

NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) $36.18 -16.71% AbbVie Inc (ABBV) $105.04 -5.23% AES Corp. (AES) $26.85 -3.73% Fortinet Inc. (FTNT) $182.66 -3.62% NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE) $72.97 -3.21% Waste Management Inc. (WM) $118.99 -3.19% Dollar General Corp (DG) $187.51 -3.12% Mattel Inc. (MAT) $21.08 -3.04% Hasbro Inc (HAS) $94.95 -2.53% Republic Services Inc. (RSG) $94.21 -2.45%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers

Expedia Group Inc. (EXPE) $185.27 5.04% Baidu Inc. (BIDU) $277.13 3.88% Tesla Inc (TSLA) $701.81 3.68% Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $94.76 3.64% Marriott International - Class A (MAR) $155.95 3.53% Seagate Technology Plc (STX) $77.98 3.31% Qurate Retail Inc. (QRTEA) $13.06 3.08% Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) $496.01 2.87% American Airlines Group (AAL) $25.16 2.82% eBay Inc. (EBAY) $59.00 2.75%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers

Hasbro Inc (HAS) $94.95 -2.53% Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) $168.91 -2.37% Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $133.45 -2.00% Cintas Corp. (CTAS) $343.22 -1.36% Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR) $107.65 -1.27% Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $54.10 -1.11% Trip.com Group Limited (TCOM) $44.12 -1.01% Intuit Inc. (INTU) $391.72 -0.94% Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) $57.50 -0.93% Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) $92.44 -0.90%
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