Stocks flat, central bank meetings imminent

US stocks remained unchanged on September 19. This occurred despite stocks traded higher, in the middle of a volatile session in the run up to keenly watched meetings of central bank policies. The Standard & Poor 500 slid about 0.04 percent to end at 2,139.12 post trading within the 18 point range. The index was pushed down by health-care and telecom stocks. On the up were financials and utilities.

Upside

A rise in home builder confidence accompanied upsides in the crude oil futures earlier during the session. This, for a few hours, pushed up equity benchmarks. The advances, however, evaporated later. Stocks of home builders gained the biggest. PulteGroup, D.R Horton Inc. and KB Home went up 1.5 percent, 1.6 percent and 2.8 percent respectively. The ETF ITB went up by 0.9 percent. September witnessed its highest rise within a span of 10 years in home builder confidence. There was a rise of six points by National Association of Home Builders’ index to touch 65 this month.

The DJIA or Dow Jones Industrial Average slid to 18,120.17, a drop of 3.63 points. The road down was led by Intel Corp. and Merck & Co with 1.35 percent and 1.53 percent in negative territory respectively. The gauge stocked with blue chips were trading 131 points earlier and trading occurred within 162 point range.

Down and causes

Nasdaq Composite Index went down 0.2 percent or 9.54 points to settle at 5,235.03. The index was up earlier by up as much as 37 points. It traded within the 58 point range. The Nasdaq 100 is the gauge of biggest 100 companies on tech laden index and it grazed 4,843.76 – an intraday record. It slipped by 0.5 percent after to stop at 4,796.07.

Participants in the market primarily concentrated on the policy meeting to be held by the Federal Reserve due to start on September 20. As per Jack Ablin of BMO Private Bank, the majority belief is that there will be zero rate increase at this point in time. The FedWatch tool crafted by CME Group has indicated that there is a 12 percent probability of a rate increase in September. Other than the Federal Reserve meeting, analysts also worry about announcements to be made by Bank of Japan. The Japanese central bank is about to take its two day long policy meeting at the same time as the Federal Reserve. 

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