S&P 500 Index
US stocks extended gains on Wednesday ahead of the FOMC statement. Mounting hopes that the Fed will announce easing measures sent the US stocks higher. Adding gains to the equities, US import prices rose for the first time in August. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.21% to close at 1,436.80. Eight out of ten sectors within the index climbed. The best-performers were telecommunications and financials. CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and Sprint Nextel added 0.57%, 1.89% and 2.00%, respectively. Among financials, Fifth Third Bancorp, SunTrust Banks and People's United Financial advanced by 0.59%, 1.85% and 0.83%, respectively. At the same time, consumer goods and utilities dragged the index lower. Ameren Corp and Duke Energy Corp lost 0.58% and 0.64% while ConAgra Foods and Pepsico slid 0.51% and 2.12%. Chesapeake also moved lower by 0.30% on reports that the company agreed to sell its oil and natural gas assets for USD6.9 billion to lower the cash-flow shortage.
Dow Jones Industrial Average Index
The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index inched up by 0.08% to close at 13,333.35 ahead of the long-awaited FOMC statement due on Thursday. Meanwhile, hopes that China will loosen its monetary policy coupled with Germany’s decision to back up the ESM created strong support for US blue chips. Seven out of nine sectors included in the index edged up. The top-gainers were telecommunications and financials. AT&T and Verizon Communications added 0.27% and 1.47% while American Express and Travelers Cos jumped 0.07% and 0.88%. At the same time, basic materials slumped, with El du Pont de Nemours losing 1.61%. Oil and gas companies moved higher, drawing support from recent rally in oil prices caused by temporary closures of refiners in the Gulf of Mexico during tropical storm. Chevron advanced by 0.26%.
Nikkei 225 Index
Japanese equities moved higher ahead of the FOMC meeting results. Persistent speculation that the POBC will loosen its prudent monetary policy also supported Japan’s stocks. The Nikkei 225 Index moved higher by 0.39% to trade at 8,995.15. Eight out of ten sectors included in the index soared. Utilities and industrials were the top-performers, climbing by 1.23% and 1.15%. Chubu Electric Power and Kansai Electric Power advanced by 5.47% and 9.26% while FANUC and Amada rose by 1.69% and 1.82%. Creating pressure on the Japanese index, technology shares retreated by 0.28%. Advantest and Tokyo Electron tumbled 3.56% and 1.53%.
Hang Seng Index
Hong Kong shares retreated on Thursday ahead of the FOMC press conference due later in the day. Recent comments of the China’s Premier hinting on likelihood of stimulus measures failed to lift Chinese equities. The Hang Seng Index posted the first decline in five trading days, losing 0.14% to close at 20,047.63. Only four business sectors included in the index inched up. Industrials and basic materials poised the biggest advance in the index, being strongly supported by an increase in government's investing in infrastructural projects. China Resources Land and China Overseas Land & Investment soared 4.49% and 2.11%. Meanwhile, consumer services sector created heavy pressure on the China’s blue chips index, with Sands China falling 2.94%. China Mobile also retreated by 1.32% after Apple announced that it will start selling its new iPhone on Friday. China Mobile does not carry iPhones on its network.
FTSE 100 Index
UK stocks are slightly higher ahead of the FOMC statement due later in the day. Traders expect the Fed to announce asset-purchasing program to boost faltering economy. Strong US and Asian shares also supported the UK equities. The FTSE 100 Index halted its downward trend, gaining 0.14% to trade at 5,790.11. Seven out of ten sectors within the index jumped. The top-gainers were telecommunications and utilities. BT Group and Vodafone Group surged 1.20% and 1.90% while Centrica and National Grid advanced by 0.46% and 0.66%. On the downside were retailers, with Next leading the losses. Next dropped by 6.40% after reporting that sales in August and September missed estimates. Kingfisher and Marks & Spencer Group followed the Next suit, falling by 0.95% and 0.93%.
German equities halted previous rally on Thursday ahead of the FOMC report indicating future actions of the Fed. Experts expect the Fed to embark on QE3. Even rising optimism over Eurozone after the German Constitutional Court’s ruling failed to buoy the index. The German DAX Index tumbled 0.69% to trade at 7,305.20. All but one business sectors included in the German blue chips index dropped. The only gainer was health care sector, with Fresenius Medical Care AG adding 0.05%. At the same time, lenders weighted down on the German stock index, declining by 1.45%. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank lost 2.16% and 1.91%.
Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500) or (SPX) - U.S. stock market index consisting of the 500 large-cap shares widely traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.
Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (INDU) - U.S. stock market index consisting of the 30 large publicly owned U.S. companies , primarily industrials
Hang Seng Index (HI) - Hong Kong’s stock market index consisting of 48 largest companies listed on the Hong Kong Exchange
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average (Nikkei 225 Index) or (NKY) - Japanese stock market index consisting of the 225 largest companies listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange
FTSE 100 Index (UKX) - U.K. stock market index consisting of the 100 most capitalized U.K. companies trading on the London Stock Exchange
DAX Index (DAX) - German stock market index consisting of the 30 largest and most liquid German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
SMA (20) - Simple Moving Average of 20 periods;
SMA (60) - Simple Moving Average of 60 periods.
Correlation - a statistical measure of the linear relationship of two random variables. It is defined as the covariance divided by the standard deviation of two variables.
Industry performance - daily performance of industries within the particular stock market index
Top performers - companies within the particular stock market index that showed best or worst daily performance
Performance - relative historical change of stock market index value