U.S. stocks finished the trading session lower with technology issues leading decliners after the Fed decided to hold rates steady yesterday, while it bolstered rate hike expectations for later this year. Treasury yields were nearly unchanged and the U.S. dollar trimmed some its solid gains from the previous session. Gold declined and crude oil prices ticked lower. In other economic developments, weekly jobless claims fell, regional manufacturing activity surprisingly grew and leading indicators continued to climb.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) decreased 53 points (0.2%) to 22,359, the S&P 500 Index lost 8 points (0.3%) to 2,501, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 33 points (0.5%) to 6,423. In moderate volume, 726 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.8 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil shed $0.14 to $50.55 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was $0.02 lower at $1.64 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price decreased $10.28 to $1,290.82 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.3% lower at 92.24.

The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for August rose 0.4% month-over-month (m/m), above the Bloomberg projection to match July’s unrevised 0.3% gain. This was the twelfth-straight monthly gain for the index, bolstered by ISM new orders, building permits, the yield curve and consumer expectations, which more than offset the negative impact of jobless claims, which jumped briefly after Hurricane Harvey.

Weekly initial jobless claims dropped by 23,000 to 259,000 last week, below forecasts of 302,000, with the prior week’s figure being revised lower by 2,000 to 282,000. The four-week moving average rose by 6,000 to 268,750, while continuing claims increased 44,000 to 1,980,000, north of estimates of 1,975,000.

The Philly Fed Manufacturing Index in September rose to 23.8 from 18.9 in August, with a reading above zero indicating expansionary activity, and compared to estimates of a decline to 17.1.

Treasuries were little changed, with the yields on the 2-year note and the 30-year bond nearly unchanged at 1.44% and 2.81%, respectively, while the yield on the 10-year note increased 1 basis point to 2.28%.

Schwab Center for Financial Research – Market Analysis Group

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