U.S. Stocks Move Modestly Higher Ahead Of Fed Meeting

Stocks have moved modestly higher during trading on Monday, adding to the slim gains posted last week. The major averages have all moved to the upside, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the way.

Currently, the major averages are off their highs of the session but still in positive territory. The Nasdaq is up 68.50 points or 0.5 percent at 13,327.64, the S&P 500 is up 10.01 points or 0.2 percent at 4,308.87 and the Dow is up 45.19 points or 0.1 percent at 33,921.97.

The strength on Wall Street comes as traders look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to pause its recent interest rate increases but is also likely to reiterate its commitment to bringing inflation down to its 2 percent target.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 73.6 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged but a 52.3 percent chance of another quarter point rate hike next month.

The Fed’s accompanying statement is likely to have a significant impact on the outlook for rates along with some closely watched inflation data due to be released in the coming days.

Overall trading activity has remained relatively subdued, however, with a lack of major U.S. economic data keeping some traders on the sidelines.

Semiconductor and networking stocks are seeing considerable strength on the day, contributing to the advance by the Nasdaq.

Reflecting the strength in the sectors, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index and the NYSE Arca Networking Index are both up by 1.9 percent.

Significant strength is also visible among airline stocks, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index climbing by 1.4 percent to its best intraday level in over a year.

On the other hand, energy stocks are moving lower along with the price of crude oil, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index and the NYSE Arca Oil Index down by 1.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.9 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries turned lower over the course of the session after seeing early strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.3 basis points at 3.778 percent.

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