US stock indexes ended higher on Wednesday following the Federal Reserve’s decision to kept interest rates steady, as it was anticipated by market analysts, and strong earnings reports.
The US regulator made no changes to its benchmark rates, leaving them between 0.5 percent and 0.75 percent. According to Fed funds tracked by CME Group’s FedWatch tool, expectations for a rate hike were standing at only 4 percent moments before the announcement.
Investors paid close attention to the press conference that followed the policy meeting, although it provided with no clues on timing for future rate increases. The Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement that “measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late", while adding that "job gains remained solid and the unemployment rate stayed near its recent low" since the last meeting.
In December, the US central bank raised rates for just the second time in a decade and said there could be as much as three extra hikes in 2017.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.14 percent / 19,890.94 points
Standard & Poor’s 500: +0.03 percent / 2,279.55 points
Nasdaq Composite: +0.50 percent / 5,642.65 points
On the data front, ADP’s employment report showed that the US private sector added 246,000 jobs last month, well above expectations for a 165,000 build. The ISM Manufacturing index for January established at 56, a point higher than analysts initially forecasted. December construction spending dropped 0.2 percent against a 0.4 percent increase seen.
Corporate earnings continued to be at the center stage in US equity markets, with Facebook reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, marking a six-quarter earnings and revenue-beat streak. Earnings per share (EPS) came in at $1.41 per share against a $1.31 seen by economists, pushing the social network 6 percent higher by the end of trades.
Today, we are looking ahead to another day full of economic reports and corporate earnings. Initial jobless claims, non-farm productivity and labor costs will be out together at 13:30 GMT. Among top companies releasing earnings, we have Merck & Co, Amazon, Visa, Estee Lauder, Deutsche Bank, Philip Morris, Daimler, Shell, GoPro, Ralph Lauren, Motorola, etc.