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US Stocks climb as Fed vows more support, keeps rates steady

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The US stock market finished session higher on Wednesday, 29 July 2020, as Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and reiterated a pledge to use its "full range of tools" to support the economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The central bank also said it would continue increasing holdings of Treasuries and other securities.

At closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 160.29 points, or 0.6%, at 26,539.57. The S&P 500 index added 40 points, or 1.2%, to 3,258.44. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 140.85 points, or 1.4%, to 10,542.94.

All 11 major S&P sectors were higher with financial and technology stocks leading the percentage gainers.

At the end of its two-day policy meeting the Fed's policymaking committee said U. S. economic activity and employment have picked up somewhat in recent months but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year. The committee added that weaker demand and significantly lower oil prices are holding down consumer price inflation. Overall financial conditions have improved in recent months, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to U. S. households and businesses.

The Fed slashed the overnight U. S. rate to a range of 0%-0.25% earlier this year in an effort to support the economy and maintain stable market conditions. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told that the Fed will maintain its historic stimulus measures until they are confident the economy has weathered the crisis and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals..

The busiest week of the earnings season continued, with Advanced Micro Devices, General Electric and Boeing releasing their latest quarterly figures.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc shares were up 12.6% after the chipmaker raised its full-year revenue forecast.

Starbucks Corp climbed 4% after the world's largest coffee chain raised its forecast for the current quarter, citing business was "steadily recovering" worldwide and it would report a profit in the current quarter.

Boeing Co slipped 2.6% as it slashed production on its widebody programs and reported a bigger-than-expected loss due to the fallout from the pandemic.

Shares of GE fell 4.4% after the industrial giant reported a stronger-than-forecast revenue along with a wider-than-expected loss.

ECONOMIC NEWS: US Pending Home Sales Rise Significantly In June- US pending home sales index surged up by 16.6 percent to 116.1 in June after skyrocketing by 44.3 percent to 99.6 in May, the National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday. A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale. With the continued increase in contract activity, pending home sales in June were up by 6.3 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

As a result of the apparent housing market turnaround, NAR has raised its forecast for the housing market in 2020. NAR now expects existing home sales to decline by only 3 percent in 2020, with sales ramping up to 5.6 million by the fourth quarter. New home sales are projected to jump by 3 percent.-

Fed Remains Committed To Using Full Range Of Tools To Support Economy; Interest Rates To Stay At Near-Zero Levels- The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced that interest rates will remain at near-zero levels amid the economic hardship imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. The Fed said it decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at zero to 0.25 percent, where it has remained since an emergency rate cut on March 15. The accompanying statement noted economic activity and employment have picked up somewhat in recent months following sharp declines but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year.

The central bank partly attributed the recent improvement in overall financial conditions to policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to U. S. households and businesses. The Fed also reiterated that it remains committed to using its full range of tools to support the U. S. economy in this challenging time. In addition to keeping interest rates at current levels until it is confident the economy has weathered recent events, the Fed said it will also continue to increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace. The unanimous decision to leave rates unchanged was widely expected, although some investors may be disappointed the Fed's statement did not provide specific clues about further stimulus. The Fed's statement did include a new sentence noting the path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus, which Fed Chair Jerome Powell highlighted in his post-meeting press conference.

Among Indian ADR, HDFC Bank rose 0.43% to $48.71, INFOSYS grew 2.15% to $12.85, WNS Holdings added 3.08% to $62.95, Wipro added 3.73% to $4.17, and Dr Reddys Labs was up 7.6% to $58.62, while Tata Motors fell 1.66% to $7.12 and Azure Power Global fell 0.15% to $20.07. ICICI Bank ended flat at $9.56. Vedanta closed steady at $5.86.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 30 2020. 09:20 IST