S&P 500 notches 15th record of 2019 as Fed cuts rates a third straight time
U.S. equity benchmarks on Wednesday finished near their best levels of the session and the S&P 500 closed at an all-time high–its second of the week– after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates a third consecutive time and signaled it may hold off on further cuts unless the economic backdrop worsens. The Federal Open Market Committee cut benchmark interest rates a quarter point to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, from 1.75% to 2%. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.33% closed up nearly 10 points, or 0.3% at 3,047, marking its second record this week and its 15th of 2019, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.43% closed up 115 points, or 0.4%, at 27,187, not far from its all-time peak, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.33% finished the session up 0.3% at 8,304, also a stone’s throw from a record close. All closing levels for the benchmarks are on a preliminary basis. Powell expressed optimism, however, about the outlook for the economy and stated that a number of headwinds, including Britain’s exit from the European Union, or Brexit, had subsided. “There’s plenty of risk left, but I have to say the risks seem to have subsided,” Powell said at a 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time news conference a half-hour after the central bank released its policy update. The committee said they would act as appropriate to sustain the U.S. economic expansion but there were two dissenters. Kansas City Federal Reserve leader Esther George and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren voted to keep rates on hold. Those two members also dissented in last month’s decision. Looking ahead, Wall Street is awaiting a report from Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.01%.