Modest Strength Visible On Wall Street In Mid-Day Trading

Gladys Abbott
September 20, 2017

Despite the choppy trading, the Dow reached a new record intraday high.

Currently, the major averages are just above the unchanged line.

TOKYO: Asian shares slipped on Tuesday, hobbled by uncertainty as traders awaited a Federal Reserve meeting for clues on United States monetary policy.

While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders are likely to pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for policy.

A separate report from the Federal Reserve unexpectedly showed a notable decrease in industrial production in August.

On the data front, USA housing market conditions softened last month, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Monday. Economists had expected housing starts to jump by 1.7%.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed increases in US import and export prices in the month of August.

The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6% in August after edging down by 0.1% in July. Economists had expected production to inch up by 0.1 percent. Industrial production fell 0.9%, the biggest monthly drop since May 2009, and significantly below estimates for a 0.1% increase. Export prices had been expected to edge up by 0.2%. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index surged up by 1.7 percent to its best closing level since 2000.

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Communications giant Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) saw shares add over 7% to US$8.22 as reports emerged of possible merger talks between it and T-Mobile.

Chemical stocks also saw some strength on the day, while weakness was visible among biotechnology and healthcare stocks.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) pared gains to finish up 0.1% at 6,454.64. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 2%.

European telecoms stocks have underperformed the broader market in the past two years but valuations and earnings potential have started to fuel investors' interest.

Microsoft and Alphabet stocks fell 0.2% and 0.6% respectively.

Any reduction in the Fed's balance sheet could make it harder for banks and investors to borrow certain Treasuries in the repurchase agreement market, making it more difficult and expensive to bet on or protect against rate increases.

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