US stocks rebound ahead of Fed policy meeting

New York, Dec 15 (IANS) The US stocks ended higher after volatile trading on Monday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.27 points, or 0.28 percent, to 17,216.94. The S&P 500 lost 8.43 points, or 0.42 percent, to 2,003.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 32.30 points, or 0.65 percent, to 4,901.16, Xinhua reported.

With no major economic data out on Monday, investors focused on the US central bank’s monetary policy meeting, which is widely expected to produce the first Fed rate hike in nine years.

US Fed Chair Janet Yellen said recently that the continuing improvement in the labour market helps strengthen confidence that inflation would move back to the objective of 2 percent over the medium term.

“The market is expected to remain problematic at least through Wednesday and the Fed announcement,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

Signs of stabilisation in oil prices provided some upward jolts to the stock market. The S&P 500’s energy sector rose 0.81 percent on Monday as the US oil snapped a six-day losing streak to end about 2 percent up.

The West Texas Intermediate for January delivery moved up 69 cents to settle at $36.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for January delivery decreased 1 cent to close at $37.92 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

On Friday, oil prices dived to near seven-year lows after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to keep crude production pumping at current level in an already-oversupplied market.

Overseas, European equities suffered big losses as commodities continued to slide, with Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index decreasing 1.32 percent.

In Asia, Chinese stocks rebounded strongly on improved market sentiment Monday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumping 2.51 percent to close at 3,520.67 points.

The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street’s fear gauge, fell 6.81 percent to end at 22.73 on Monday.

In other markets, the US dollar increased against most major currencies on Monday as investors were awaiting the closely-watched Federal Reserve meeting.

In late New York trading, the euro rose to $1.1000 from $1.0994 in the previous session, while the dollar bought 120.83 Japanese yen, higher than 120.78 yen of the previous session.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell on Monday, with the most active gold contract for February delivery down $12.3, or 1.14 percent, to settle at $1,063.40 per ounce.

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