United States stocks end higher; all eyes on Fed


Technology and industrial stocks rose.

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NEW YORK-Wall Street's major indexes all slid more than 2 percent on December 17, with the benchmark S&P 500 closing at its lowest in 14 months, on concerns about slowing economic growth ahead of a highly anticipated decision from the Federal Reserve this week on the course of United States interest-rate hikes. The S&P 600 closed at 859.50 for a gain of 1.92 points or 0.22%.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 2.8354 percent, from 2.857 percent late on Monday. The same is true of the Dow, which has dropped more than 7% since December 1.

Day's final numbers after the closing bell on the floor of the NYSE
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The Dow is down 1,043.58 points, or 4.2 per cent.

Instead of a Santa rally, yesterday saw a Santa crash. "Clearly it's in sharp contrast to last year's optimistic outlook".

Wall Street has suffered the worst start to December since 1980, with stocks showing no sign of recovery before the holidays.

European stocks are lower, with Germany's DAX slipping 0.35% and Britain's FTSE 100 down more than 0.7%. FedEx slumped nearly 5 percent as of 4:30 p.m.in NY, after a lower profit forecast stoked doubts about the strength of global trade.

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The major US index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Tuesday following the sell-off seen over the course of the two previous sessions. The Nasdaq composite slipped 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,902.

Oil stocks were particularly hard hit as weak global economic growth drove crude prices down another 2%. Still, investors remain cautious a deal will be done by the March 1 deadline even as China's openness to cutting tariffs on USA cars and buying soybeans is feeding optimism that the dispute will be resolved.

Gold is flat on the day, trading at 0.00% difference from its opening price.

"It would be problematic for the future announcements by the Fed".

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Investors, however, are anxious that the Fed may signal numerous hikes in 2019, which many believe could stall USA economic growth.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump urged the Fed, which functions as the United States' central bank, not to raise interest rates for a fourth time this year.

ANALYST TAKE: "A dovish hike is widely expected today and increases next year reduced to one or two, although I wonder whether they may hold off and surprise the markets", said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Investors said market skittishness was likely to persist heading into the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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