Midday Update: Wall Street Idles Near Record Highs Ahead of FOMC Decision

Midday Update: Wall Street Idles Near Record Highs Ahead of FOMC Decision

Fueled by a marginal increase in a leading inflation gauge and strength in the industrial sector, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are higher for a fifth straight day as Wall Street pauses at record highs before the Federal Open Market Committee announcement at 2pm ET.

Consumer prices increased by 0.4% in November, matching Wall Street’s expectations. But with three-fourths of the nominal index influenced by higher energy prices, the core index increased by an anemic 0.1%, half of what was expected, dropping the year-over-year rate of inflation to 1.7%. Additionally, prices for apparel experienced their largest decline in nearly two decades.

Energy and financial shares are a few of the outliers to Wednesday’s gains, with the energy sector lower amid expectations U.S. shale production will increase, according to a report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The report forecasted non-OPEC supply to increase in 2018 with U.S. production advancing more than expected.

Financials are also trading defensively in what resembles a “buy the rumor, sell the fact” reaction to rate hikes.

Ahead of the NYSE open, stocks were rising after a brief spill tied to the results of the special Senate election in Alabama. Democrat Doug Jones’ victory over GOP opponent Roy Moore cut the GOP majority in the Senate to a razor-thin 2 votes. But since Jones’ win won’t be certified until after the tax reform vote, Wall Street bounced back and resumed its record-setting advance.

European bourses were all in the red with EU-zone markets weighed by a sell-off in Italian stocks on news the parliament will be dissolved before the end of the year, paving the way for new elections in March. UK shares were mostly lower following data showing UK wages adjusted for inflation fell for the three-month period ending October.

Crude oil was down $0.45 to $56.69 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.04 to $2.72 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $6.90 to $1.248.70 an ounce, while silver was up $0.13 to $15.80 an ounce. Copper was up $0.02 to $3.05 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.96% to $11.33 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.77% to $5.45. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.09% to 21.68 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.12% to $118.29. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.20% to $14.89.

Here’s where the markets stand at mid-day:

US MARKETS

NYSE Composite Index was up 28.12 points (+0.22%) to 12,725.90

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 135.33 points (+.55%) to 24.640.13

S&P 500 was up 4.54 points (+0.17%) to 2,668.52

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 22.93 points (+0.33%) to 6,885.17

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 3.90 points (-0.05%) to 7,496.51

DAX was down 57.89 points (-0.44%) to 13,125.64 points

CAC 40 was down 27.74 points (-0.51%) to 5,399.45

Nikkei 225 was down 108.10 points (-0.47%) to 22,758.07

Hang Seng Index was up 428.22 points (+1.49%) to 29,222.10

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 22.85 points (+0.70%) to 3,303.66

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 18.94 points (-0.17%) to 11,031.80

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 2.84 points (+0.03%) to 8,242.23

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 17.23 points (+0.12%) to 14,349.72

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) FNSR (+28.39%) Announced $390 mln contract with Apple ( AAPL )

(+) STRM (+27.39%) Reported upbeat Q3 results

(+) LTEA (+20.87%) Signed reciprocal distribution deal with Europe’s Natur

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) HMNY (-31.75%) Priced share offering at 36% discount

(-) NAT (-25.34%) Announced $100 million stock offering

(-) MDB (-7.41%) Reported loss of $0.44 per share on $4 million in sales, issued Q4 guidance below street

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