Some comments during Janet Yellen’s first press conference as Federal Reserve chair took the indexes down from their unchanged stance to modest losses. She had indicated that interest rates would rise about 6 months after quantitative easing ended; the market had assumed a much longer time frame. Also interesting is the unemployment target the Fed had been using to tighten was dropped. The S&P 500 fell 0.61% and the NASDAQ 0.59%; all of this occurred late in the day, although there was some dip buying in the last 10-15 minutes.
In its policy statement, the Fed said the benchmark federal-funds rate will remain near zero for a “considerable time” after its asset-purchase program ends. Yellen attempted to clarify the term, saying its is “hard to define” but “probably means something on the order of around six months.
Here are the longer term charts of the indexes:
Not surprisingly, 10 year Treasury yields reacted favorably to the news, driving back up over 2.7%. But until these get over 3.0% there is no real change here.
There were a couple large companies that reported, and took a (small) hit today.
FedEx (FDX) slipped after the shipping giant posted quarterly results that were below expectations, citing the severe winter weather. Its full-year forecast also fell short of consensus.
Oracle (ORCL) declined after the software giant also missed Wall Street estimates and as investors were concerned about increasing competition and slower tech spending. However dip buyers were ready to pounce.
In other news, First Solar (FSLR) spiked after the company forecast 2015 revenue above expectations.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) also had a very nice session – and has had a very firm chart for quite a while now.