The U.S. benchmarks ended the day in the red following the Federal Reserve’s widely-expected decision to hike interest rates by 25 basis points. There are two additional increases likely on the horizon.
While the decision wasn’t a shock to investors, the markets still took a hit.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was down around 8 points after hitting a new intraday high, boosted by media stocks including Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX).
Up north, the TSX was down by 15 points as energy stocks offset gains in healthcare and financial stocks.
The Russell 2000 small-cap index saw a slight decline, dragged down by scPharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SCPH) and vTv Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:VTVT).
12 PM: US stocks march cautiously higher as interest rate hike decision looms
US stocks held onto their gains for the most part to march cautiously higher in afternoon trade as a Federal judge’s decision to give the go-ahead to the AT&T-Time Warner merger resulted in media company shares swinging higher.
Also weighing on markets was the wait for a 2 p.m. decision from the Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point.
After turning negative for a brief spell, the Big Board stayed flat at 25,321, its performance impeded by laggards such as Verizon Communications and Caterpillar Inc.
The approval of AT&T-Time Warner's mega merger pushed up shares of companies involved in takeovers.
Twenty-First Century Fox traded 7.5% higher as it appears likely to be on the receiving end of a rival US$60bn all-cash bid by Comcast for much of its assets.
Elsewhere, the S&P 500 was little changed, adding 1.2 points to 2,788 while the Russell 2000 fell slightly, losing 2 points to 1,680.
10 AM: US stocks rise modestly as markets brace for Fed decision
US stock rose modestly Wednesday as the countdown began for investors to a decision from the Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to increase rates by a quarter of a percentage point after it wraps up its June meeting.
Investors will parse the Fed statement to be issued 2 p.m., along with its latest economic forecasts and interest rate outlook. It could stir up markets if the Fed’s economic and inflation forecasts sound more hawkish. Investors are trying to get a clearer outline for how many rate hikes may be in the offing in coming months and years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 17.61 points, or 0.10% to 25,344.89.
The tech-laden Nasdaq was trading at a record high, adding 15 points, or 0.18% to hover at 7,718 turbocharged by Twenty-First Century Fox which rallied 7% Wednesday after a judge ruled Tuesday that the US$85bn AT&T and Time Warner deal could go through raising valuations for the media industry.
The S&P 500, meanwhile, was up 1.30 points, or 0.05% to 2,788.37, while the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks was up 0.05% to 1,683.21.
Shares of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) lost over 4% Wednesday, while Time Warner Inc. (NASDAQ:TWX) jumped 3.65%. Meanwhile, shares of Comcast were down down 0.73% as investors expect it to now make its bid for the 21st Century Fox film and TV studio assets Walt Disney Co. has already agreed to buy.