U.S. stocks end mixed amid Fed's decision, data

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-18 00:15:06|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NEW YORK, June 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks wavered and end mixed for the week, with the S&P and Dow eking out gains and the Nasdaq mildly falling.

For the week, the blue-chip Dow rose 0.53 percent, and the broader S&P 500 edged up 0.06 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq decreased 0.90 percent.

Investors mainly focused on the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rate by a quarter point this week.

The U.S. central bank on Wednesday raised the benchmark interest rates for the fourth time since December 2015, and unveiled plan to start trimming its balance sheet.

"In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the (Federal Open Market) Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1.25 percent," said the Fed in a statement after concluding its two-day monetary policy meeting.

The Fed also provided more details on how it will unwind its 4.5-trillion-U.S.-dollar balance sheet.

On the economic front, U.S. privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.092 million units, notching the lowest level in eight months, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

This is 5.5 percent below the revised April estimate of 1.156 million and 2.4 percent below the May 2016 rate of 1.119 million.

The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment dropped from 97.1 in May to 94.5 for June, well below market estimates, said the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment on Friday.

In the week ending June 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 237,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's unrevised level, said the U.S. Labor Department Thursday.

In a separate report, the department announced that U.S. import prices decreased 0.3 percent in May, while the price index for U.S. exports dipped 0.7 percent.

U.S. industrial production was unchanged in May, missing market consensus of a 0.2-percent gain, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.

"The pullback in manufacturing production comes on the heels of the April surge, but still points to a moderation in production. Import prices continued to show a lack of rising inflationary pressure, aligning with nearly all other May inflation data," said Sophia Kearney-Lederman, an economic analyst at FTN Financial, in a note.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all urban consumers decreased 0.1 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.9 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in May, and it rose 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May decreased 0.3 percent from the previous month to 473.8 billion U.S. dollars, the Commerce Department announced Wednesday.

"The economy has slowed, inflation remains ominously low and consumers are in a wary mood," said Chris Low and Jay Morelock, economists at FTN Financial, in a joint note.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand was unchanged in May, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday.

On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index increased 2.4 percent for the 12 months ended in May.

Meanwhile, a renewed decline in technology sector also weighed on the market earlier this week. Large-cap tech shares, including those of Alphabet, Apple, Amazon and Facebook all traded lower after Alphabet was downgraded by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.

In corporate news, Amazon announced Friday that it plans to acquire Whole Foods Market for 42 U.S. dollars per share, in a deal valued at 13.7 billion dollars.

Shares of Amazon jumped 2.44 percent to 987.71 dollars apiece following the announcement, while shares of the latter spiked 29.10 percent to 42.68 dollars apiece.

However, shares of Kroger, Costco, Target, and Dow-component Wal-Mart all took a big hit on the news of the deal and dropped sharply.