December 6, 2013
Wall Street slips in volatile post-Fed trade
US stocks fell in volatile trading today after the Federal Reserve said it would keep its stimulus program intact for the time being, as expected, though it also nodded to a weaker economic growth outlook.
Major indexes briefly cut their losses after the statement, but then turned lower and dropped to session lows before rebounding off that.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 61.59 points, or 0.39 percent, to end at 15,618.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 8.64 points, or 0.49 percent, to finish at 1,763.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 21.72 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 3,930.62.
Upbeat earnings helped European shares plough ahead early with UK retailer Next and Norwegian conglomerate Orkla among those reporting better than expected quarterly results.
Profit beats for the quarter so far have been roughly in line with the average over the last few quarters - 53 percent of STOXX Europe 600 companies have met or beaten expectations.
But after a grim six months in which analysts have steadily cut forecasts for the next year's earnings, such downgrades are beginning to slow for every sector on the MSCI Europe index. The only exception is insurers, which had already been in upgrade territory.
That is in part the product of an improving European and global economy, but also of expectations the US Federal Reserve will hold fire for a while longer before cutting back economic stimulus.
The FSTEurofirst 300 had hit a fresh five-year high, up 4.36 points or 0.3 percent at 1,292.42.
Meanwhile, Japanese shares climbed to a one-week high on expectations that the US Federal Reserve will maintain its ultra-easy money policy for at least the next few months.
The benchmark Nikkei rose 1.2 percent to 14,502.35, the highest closing level since October 22. The broader Topix added 0.9 percent to 1,204.50, with trading volume hitting a 5-1/2-week high of 3.11 billion shares.