US stocks mixed amid rate hike concern

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New York, March 14 (IANS) US stocks wavered and ended mixed, as Wall Street mainly awaited a possible interest rate hike from the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

On Monday, The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 21.50 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 20,881.48. The S&P 500 rose 0.87 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 2,373.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 14.06 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 5,875.78., Xinhua news agency reported.

Traders generally anticipated the Federal Open Market Committee to raise interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting later this week.

Market expectations for a March rate hike were around 95.2 per cent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“This Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Bank is expected to raise the fed funds rate to a range of 0.75 per cent to 1 per cent. They might even say that it’s written in stone after February’s rather strong employment data,” said the President of Sarge986 LLC Stephen Guilfoyle.

US total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February, well above market consensus of 188,000, the Labor Department announced Friday. The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 per cent.

After Friday’s jobs report, market expectations for a March rate hike sharply increased.

The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street’s fear gauge, decreased 2.66 per cent to end at 11.35 on Monday.

US stocks wavered in a tight range for the last week, as Wall Street assessed the possibility of a March rate hike amid economic data.

–IANS

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