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US Stocks end mixed
30-Jan-20   08:31 Hrs IST
The US equity market finished session mixed on Wednesday, 29 January 2020, as better-than-expected results from blue-chip companies and the Federal Reserve upbeat tone on the health of the U.S. economy offset by lingering concerns related to China's coronavirus outbreak. At closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11.60 points, or 0.4%, to 28,734.45, while the S&P 500 index slipped 2.84 points, or 0.1%, to 3,273.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 5.48 points, or 0.06%, to 9,275.16.

Stocks initially showed little reaction to the Fed's policy statement but steadily lost ground on the heels of a news conference by chairman Jerome Powell. The Federal Reserve left its policy interest rate unchanged as expected and said the economy is growing at a moderate pace, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that the coronavirus epidemic in China introduces “uncertainty” into the outlook and also called asset valuations “somewhat elevated.”

The Federal Reserve announced its decision to leave interest rates unchanged following the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday. The Fed decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 percent, keeping rates unchanged for the second straight meeting after three straight quarter-point rate cuts. The accompanying statement was largely unchanged from last month, with the Fed noting that recent data indicates the labor market remains strong and that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate.

The Fed reiterated that business fixed investment and exports remain weak and that the annual rate of inflation continues to run below its 2 percent target. With regard to leaving rates unchanged, the Fed said it views the current stance of monetary policy as appropriate to supporting sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation returning to 2 percent.

Apple Inc gained 2.1% after the iPhone maker reported better than expected earnings, even as it braced for more disruptions in virus-hit China.

Boeing Co rose 1.72% after the aircraft manufacturer reported lower than expected annual loss. The planemaker forecasted nearly $19 billion in costs related to the grounding of its 737 MAX jets.

On U.S. economic data front, the U.S. trade deficit rose 8.5% in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales fell 4.9% in December from the previous month.

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