Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Dow Turns Lower; Fed Boosts Interest Rates

U.S. stocks pared gains toward the end of trading, with the Dow Jones dropping more than 100 points on Wednesday.

The Dow traded down 0.39% to 33,414.58 while the NASDAQ rose 0.47% to 13,009.89. The S&P also fell, dropping, 0.16% to 4,255.50.

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Leading and Lagging Sectors

Financials shares climbed by 1.3% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included 360 DigiTech, Inc. (NASDAQ:QFIN), up 40% and Futu Holdings Limited (NASDAQ:FUTU) up 35%.

In trading on Wednesday, utilities shares fell by 1.3%.

Top Headline

The Federal Reserve raised its target fed funds rate by 0.25% on Wednesday to a new range of between 0.25% and 0.5%, its first interest rate hike since 2018.

All 11 Fed members voted unanimously to raise interest rates, but committee member James Bullard was the only one that voted for a more aggressive 0.5% hike.

Equities Trading UP

KE Holdings Inc. (NYSE:BEKE) shares shot up 56% to $14.14. Morgan Stanley upgraded KE Holdings from Equal-Weight to Overweight and lowered the price target from $23 to $16.

Shares of JOYY Inc. (NASDAQ:YY) got a boost, shooting 57% to $39.78 after reporting Q4 results. Shares of Chinese companies traded higher following a Chinese state media report indicating China’s financial stability and development committee urged market stability measures and mentioned cooperation with US regulators.

Kingsoft Cloud Holdings Limited (NASDAQ:KC) shares were also up, gaining 67% to $5.36. Kingsoft Cloud said it is weighing a dual listing of shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Equities Trading DOWN

CarParts.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:PRTS) shares tumbled 11% to $6.32 following a leadership transition. The company announced that Lev Peker will step down as CEO, effective April 15. Peker has left CarParts in order to take the helm at CarLotz.

Shares of Bird Global, Inc. (NYSE:BRDS) were down 21% to $2.75 after reporting Q4 results. The company also gave Q1 and FY22 guidance.

Tantech Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:TANH) was down, falling 69% to $0.4932 after the company priced a $10 million offering of common stock and pre-funded warrants.

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Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 1.7% to $94.77, while gold traded down 1.3% to $1,904.60.

Silver traded down 1.7% Wednesday to $24.735 while copper rose 1.6% to $4.5830.

Euro zone

European shares closed higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 climbed 3.06%, London’s FTSE 100 gained 1.62%, while Spain’s IBEX 35 Index rose 1.75%. The German DAX climbed 3.76%, French CAC 40 jumped 3.68% and Italy’s FTSE MIB Index gained 3.34%.

French consumer price inflation rate accelerated to 3.6% year-over-year in February from 2.9% in the prior month. The UK unemployment rate fell to 3.9% during the three months to January 2022, recording the lowest level in two years, while number of people in work dropped by 12,000 on quarter to 32.493 million.

Economics

Retail sales in the US rose 0.3% month-over-month in February.

The price index for US imports rose 1.4% from a month ago in February, while export prices rose 3.0% in February.

US business inventories rose 1.1% from a month ago in January.

The NAHB housing market index dropped to a six-month low of 79 in March from 81 in the previous month.

US crude oil inventories climbed 4.3 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said.

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Check out the full economic calendar here

COVID-19 Update

The U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, reporting a total of 81,244,930 cases with around 992,300 deaths. India confirmed a total of at least 42,998,930 cases and 516,100 deaths, while Brazil reported over 29,432,270 COVID-19 cases with 655,640 deaths. In total, there were at least 462,350,160 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with more than 6,075,650 deaths.

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