US stocks end mostly up as Fed keeps rates unchanged

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher on Wednesday (Nov 1) following another round of solid US data and an upbeat appraisal on economic conditions by the Federal Reserve.

The Fed, as expected, kept interest rates unchanged as it reported the US was growing at a "solid pace" and was not significantly dented by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. That statement solidified the view the US central bank is likely to raise interest rates in December.

The Fed decision came as an ADP report estimated private-sector hiring surged by 235,000 jobs in October, while the Institute for Supply Management reported manufacturing industry growth tempered a bit in October but was still strong.

Investor sentiment remains upbeat.

"We're in many ways in a sweet spot. We've got stable and steady economic growth and strong earnings growth and low interest rates and inflation," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. "The only issue is valuation."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 per cent to close the session at 23,435.01.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 2,579.36, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.2 per cent to 6,716.53.

 

Apple, which has scored large gains in recent days on optimism about its new iPhone, dropped 1.3 per cent in a retreat seen as profit taking ahead of the company's earnings report Thursday.

Tesla Motors fell 3.2 per cent ahead of its earnings release following the market close Wednesday, while Facebook rose 1.4 per cent ahead of its report.

Cosmetics company Estee Lauder shot up 9.2 per cent after reporting much higher sales and profits, with especially strong conditions in China and Hong Kong. Profit in the first fiscal quarter of 2018 rose 45 per cent to US$427 million (S$580 million.

Video game developer Electronic Arts dropped 4.3 per cent on investor disappointment at the company's second-quarter earnings report, which included a profit loss of US$22 million, and a seven percent rise in revenues to US$959 million.

Petroleum-linked shares were strong, with Dow member ExxonMobil winning 0.6 per cent, Halliburton 0.8 per cent and ConocoPhillips 1.9 per cent.