December 21, 2014
Wall St falls after Fed minutes
Stock markets around the world fell today, with declines accelerating after minutes from a US Federal Reserve policy meeting showed members supported continued tapering of the central bank's bond-buying program barring a significant change in the economy.
The dollar rose following the release of the minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting, while gold prices fell for a second straight day.
At the meeting, the Fed ultimately decided to make a second modest cut to its bond-buying program, which now runs at $65 billion per month. It made the move despite turmoil at the time in emerging markets brought on in part by the withdrawal of Fed stimulus.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 89.84 points or 0.56 percent, to end at 16,040.56. The S&P 500 slipped 12.01 points or 0.65 percent, to finish at 1,828.75. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 34.83 points or 0.82 percent, to close at 4,237.954.
The S&P 500 set an all-time intraday high of 1,850.84 on Jan. 15, and came within 4 points of that level at its session high on Wednesday. The Nasdaq was on track to halt an eight-day string of gains.
European shares pared early losses in late trade, tracking a rally in Wall Street, with WM Morrison gaining in the afternoon after a report that the grocer may be taken over by private-equity firms.
The FTSEurofirst 300 mounted a recovery in thin volumes to close up 0.1 percent at 1,338.67, as Wall Street turned higher after a cautious start before US Federal Reserve minutes were released.
The market was in negative territory for most of the day, pulling back from overbought conditions, and Valerie Gastaldy, head of technical analysis firm Day-By-Day, said that the Euro Stoxx 50 could hit 3,050 by Friday. It closed up 0.1 percent at 3,120.80.
Seamless steel tube maker Tenaris fell 6.4 percent to the bottom of the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index after US trade authorities decided not to impose tariffs on South Korean imports of oil and gas pipe. French peer Vallourec fell 4.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average fell retreating from a 2-1/2-week high hit the previous day, as investors took profit on banks and exporters a day after it had logged its biggest percentage gain in six months.
The Nikkei shed 0.5 percent to 14,766.53 after a 3.1 percent rise on Tuesday, which took it to the highest close since Jan. 31. The Topix shed 0.5 percent to 1,218.52.