S&P 500 flat as investors await Fed decision


Note: Figures recorded at 7:40am AEDT. Updated figures and a video recording will be available at 9am AEDT.

The S&P 500 was flat Tuesday as Wall Street waits for the latest Federal Reserve decision on interest rates.

The benchmark was little changed, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 91 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite pulled back 0.7%.

Traders will watch for updates out of the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day policy meeting that got underway Tuesday. The fed funds futures market has priced in a 97% probability that the central bank will leave rates unchanged, according to the CME FedWatch tool, so investors are instead left anticipating a shift in the policy statement that will close out the meeting.

General Motors shares popped 7% after the automaker posted better-than-expected earnings. Cybersecurity stock F5 gained 2% on the back of a better-than-expected financial report, while electronics manufacturer Sanmina soared more than 28% after posting strong earnings per share and current-quarter guidance.

Elsewhere, appliances maker Whirlpool shed more than 6% after sharing a worse-than-expected outlook for the full year. JetBlue fell 4% after forecasting little to no revenue growth in 2024, and costs per available seat mile rising in the mid- to high single digits, excluding fuel.

Those reports come ahead of major tech reports due out post-market, including Microsoft and Alphabet.

Wall Street is coming off a winning session that brought the Dow and S&P 500 to their sixth record closes of the year. 144 companies have reported quarterly results so far this earnings season, or about 29% of the index. About 79% of companies that have reported results surpassed Wall Street estimates, compared to an average 76% clip over the past four quarters.

In commodity-related news, oil prices rose as the IMF increased its growth forecast, citing a resilient U.S. economy and stimulus in China, while the market awaited the U.S. response to a recent drone attack in Jordan. Saudi Aramco announced a halt to its plan to boost oil production, maintaining its capacity at 12 million barrels a day, and will provide further guidance in March when announcing full-year 2023 results. 

Currency

One Australian dollar at 7.35am was buying 66.00 US cents.

Figures around the globe

European markets closed higher. London’s FTSE added 0.44 per cent, Frankfurt rose 0.18 per cent, and Paris closed 0.48 per cent higher.

Turning to Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.11 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2.33 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.83 per cent lower.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.29 per cent higher at 7,600.19.

Ex-dividends
Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) is paying 10.17 cents unfranked
Metrics Income (ASX:MOT) is paying 1.66 cents unfranked
Metrics Master (ASX:MXT) is paying 1.55 cents unfranked
Mayfield Group (ASX:MYG) is paying 1 cents fully franked

Dividends payable
PRL Global Ltd PRG)
Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP)
Rural Funds Group (ASX:RFF)
Australian Unity Office Fund (ASX:AOF)
Centuria Office REIT (ASX:COF)
Kelly Partners Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:KPG)

Sources: Bloomberg, FactSet, IRESS, TradingView, UBS, Bourse Data, Trading Economics, CoinMarketCap.

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