- POSTED: 09 Jan 2014 06:41
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US stocks Wednesday closed mostly lower after US Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed most Fed policy makers thought the US economy could withstand reduced monetary stimulus.
NEW YORK: US stocks Wednesday closed mostly lower after US Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed most Fed policy makers thought the US economy could withstand reduced monetary stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68.20 points (0.41 per cent) to 16,462.74.
The broad-based S&P 500 inched down 0.39 (0.02 per cent) to 1,837.49 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 12.43 (0.30 per cent) to 4,165.61.
The minutes of the Fed's December 17-18 policy meeting showed that "most" policy makers "had become more confident" that labour market conditions would continue to improve if the Fed cut its monetary stimulus.
The minutes documented the discussion that preceded the Fed's December 18 announcement to trim asset purchases by US$10 billion to US$75 billion a month beginning in January.
Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, said investors are anxious after the market's tepid start in 2014 following the huge gains of 2013. Some investors are also worried about the Fed taper, he said.
"There's just kind of lingering concerns about the market's ability to keep making gains" after last year, James said.
"Right now, what the market is clamouring for is clarity. We'll have a little more clarity Friday morning after the jobs report and a little more clarity next week after we have a fuller slate of S&P 500 companies reporting earnings."
Ford Motor jumped 1.1 per cent after chief executive Alan Mulally reportedly said that he intends to stay at Ford. Mulally had been widely discussed as a top candidate for the chief executive spot at Microsoft. Dow component Microsoft fell 1.8 per cent.
Pharmaceutical company Forest Laboratories jumped 17.9 per cent after announcing a US$2.9 billion acquisition of privately held Aptalis, which specializes in gastrointestinal and cystic fibrosis treatments.
Chipmaker Micron Technology shot up 9.9 per cent after reporting earnings of 77 cents per share compared with expectations of 50 cents per share. SanDisk, another chipmaker, rose 6.0 per cent.
US pharmaceutical distributor McKesson jumped 4.9 per cent following reports that it could sweeten its US$8.3 billion offer to acquire German company Celesio.
Citigroup rose 1.2 per cent after Credit Suisse pronounced it the top pick among large US banks due to better earnings quality and the potential for more measures to return capital to shareholders.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.99 per cent from 2.94 per cent Tuesday, while the 30-year increased to 3.90 per cent from 3.88 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.