NEW YORK The S&P 500 and Nasdaq slipped from all-time intra-day highs on Wednesday in choppy trading after the Federal Reserve ruled out for now more dovish monetary policy measures such as the yield curve control.
Under yield-curve control, the Fed would cap yields at a specific point on the curve by buying 2- or 3-year maturities, for example, to reinforce guidance that rates are not going up anytime soon.
In minutes of the Fed’s July meeting, a majority of its monetary policy committee commented on yield caps and targets
as a monetary policy tool. Of those who discussed this option, most judged that yield caps and targets would likely provide only modest benefits in the current environment.
“I think the fact that the Fed was not too warm on the yield-curve control and some of the extreme measures investors may have liked to see was a concern,” said Mike O’Rourke, chief market strategist, Jones Trading.
The Fed also raised concerns that the U.S. economy’s recovery from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic faced a highly uncertain path.
It noted that the swift rebound in employment seen in May and June had likely slowed and that additional “substantial improvement” in the labor market would hinge on a “broad and sustained” reopening of business activity.
Earlier in the session, the S&P 500 hit an intraday record of 3,399.54 and Nasdaq of 11,257.422.
The latest moves came after Apple became the first publicly listed U.S. company to cross $2 trillion in market capitalization. Strong results from retailers Target and Lowe’s also lifted sentiment earlier in the session.
Already the most valuable listed company in the world, Apple Inc rose 1.4%, providing the biggest support to the three main indexes. Apple was last up 0.9% at $466.52.
The S&P 500 closed at a record level on Tuesday in what has been its fastest recovery ever from a bear market. The Nasdaq recouped its losses from the pandemic sell-off two months ago, but the Dow is still nearly 5% below February’s record closing high.
At 3:04 pm ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 52.45 points, or 0.19%, to 27,830.52, the S&P 500 gained 0.39 points, or 0.01%, to 3,390.17 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.38 points, or 0.09%, to 11,200.46.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.03-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.24-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 70 new highs and 20 new lows.
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