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Stock Market News For Mar 19, 2019

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Markets closed in the green on Monday ahead of Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting. The three major benchmarks ended the session in positive territory, with the Dow registering its fourth consecutive close in the green. Meanwhile, the federal prosecutors began scrutinizing the development of Boeing’s MAX 737 jetliner.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.5%, to close at 25,914.10. The S&P 500 increased 0.4% to close at 2,832.94. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7,714.48, gaining 0.3%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 1.1% to close at 12.74. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.72-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.21-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow amassed 65.2 points to end in positive territory for the fourth straight session. The Dow also posted its best close since Mar 1. Gains for the 30-stock index were buoyed by a 1% surge in the shares of Apple (AAPL - Free Report) . However, gains for the Dow were capped by steep losses for both Boeing (BA - Free Report) and Facebook (FB - Free Report) .

Shares of Boeing declined 1.8% after the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Department of Transportation officials along with federal prosecutors were probing the development of Boeing’s 737 MAX jetliners. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The S&P 500 gained 10.5 points to also end in the green. Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, eight ended in the positive territory, with energy and financials leading the advancers. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) increased 1.4% and 1%, respectively on Monday. The index posted its best settlement since Oct 9.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq increased 26 points to close in positive territory. Gains for the tech-laden index were powered by a 1.7% rally in the shares of Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) . This also marked Nasdaq’s best close since Oct 9.

Fed’s Two-Day Meeting in Focus

Investors awaited the outcome of Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting scheduled to begin Tuesday. Fed officials are expected to announce the future path of rate hikes on Wednesday after the meeting ends. Experts largely expect the Fed to hold interest rates steady.

Further, market watchers would also focus on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments in the press conference after the meeting. The investors would also focus on interest-rate forecast provided by Fed’s policymakers in the dot plot. The CME FedWatchpredicts a 98.7% chance of interest rates to remain flat after the meeting.

Market Watchers Follow U.S. – China Trade Developments

Investors keenly watched the latest developments on the U.S.-China trade war front. Comments from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang indicated that a trade deal between his country and the United States might occur ‘several weeks’ later.

Li remained optimistic that a trade deal would soon be reached between both the countries and which would be in accordance with the needs of both parties. Meanwhile Trump described China as a “very responsible and reasonable” country. 

Speaking to reporters post a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that no date whatsoever had been fixed for a meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping. He further stated that “there’s still a lot of work to do” before an agreement is reached.

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