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Benchmarks closed higher on Tuesday as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) two day meeting kicked off. Market watchers speculated that the central bank would likely announce the gradual unwinding of its $4.5 million balance sheet. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump made his debut speech at the United Nations General Assembly and urged the member states to combat ‘rouge’ nations like North Korea and Iran. He also commented that if North Korea does not stop threatening the United States and its allies, the U.S. might ‘totally destroy’ North Korea.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 22,370.80, gaining 0.2%. The S&P 500 Index (INX) increased 0.1% to close at 2,506.65. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,461.32, increasing 0.1%. A total of 5.8 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, higher than the last 20-session average of 5.9 billion shares. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1.09-to-1 ratio.  On the Nasdaq, advancers outnumbered decliners by 1.04-to-1 ratio.  The CBOE VIX decreased 1.1% to close at 10.04.

Federal Open Market Committee Meeting Kicks Off

Broader markets gained after the Federal Open Market Committee two day meeting begun on Tuesday. Investors had a keen eye for the Fed meeting as they expected the central bank to finally begin unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. However, the market watchers do not expect any rate hikes from the Fed as the inflation rates have persistently remained below the target of 2%.

Moreover, economists commented that the unwinding would be slow as any reaction by the market to such an unprecedented event would be unknown. In the backdrop of excellent import data, the CME FedWatch probability of a rate hike in December is around 58.3%. The U.S. import prices have surged 0.6% in the last month, buoyed by an increase in the petroleum costs, registering its biggest increase in the past seven months.

The Dow added 39.45 points to close in the positive territory, marking its eighth straight session of gains and 41st record for 2017. Shares of Verizon (VZ - Free Report) and Goldman Sachs (GS - Free Report) gained 2.6% and 0.6% respectively, contributing to the most of the gains for Dow. Both the companies possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 added almost 3 points to end above the 2500 level, closing at a high on six out of past seven trading days. This also marked its 36th record close for 2017. Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, seven ended in the positive territory with financials and telecom shares leading the advancers. The SPDR S&P Telecom ETF (XTL) and Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) gained 0.5% and 0.7%, respectively.

President Trump’s First Address to the U.N. General Assembly

President Trump made his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday after being elected as the President. He urged the member states to jointly tackle ‘rouge’ nations such as North Korea and Iran. He further said that North Korea’s pursuit of missile tests had put the entire world at a threat of ‘unthinkable loss of human life.’ He also commented that the United States ‘read, willing and able’ to take up a military action against North Korea if it continued threatening the country and its allies. He also pointed that the United States would ‘totally destroy’ North Korea if deemed necessary.

Economic Data

Housing Starts decreased 0.8% to 1.18 million in August from the previous month’s figure of 1.19 million. However, it came above the consensus estimate of 1.17 million. Meanwhile, the building permits increased to 1.3 million — the second highest level since 2007— from the previous month figure of 1.2 million.

Stocks That Made Headlines

FedEx Q1 Earnings & Revenues Lag, FY18 View Bearish

FedEx Corporation (FDX - Free Report) reported disappointing results in the first quarter of fiscal 2018 (ended Aug 31, 2017). (Read More)

Comcast Stops Offering Watchable Digital Video Platform

Leading cable MSO (multi service operator) and media giant Comcast Corp. (CMCSA - Free Report) has shut down its standalone over-the-top (OTT) service – Watchable. (Read More)

Bed Bath & Beyond Falls on Q2 Earnings Miss, View Cut

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc(BBBY - Free Report) reported second straight quarter of lower-than-expected results in second-quarter fiscal 2017. (Read More)

Rite Aid Gets FTC Nod for Sale of Fewer Stores to Walgreens

After four amendments, Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) finally received a nod for the fresh proposal the latter put forward yesterday. (Read More)

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