Stocks are heading back toward their all-time highs.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 14,511, +55.9 pts, +0.3 percent
S&P 500: 1,558, +10.3 pts, +0.6 percent
NASDAQ: 3,254, +25.0 pts, +0.7 percent
And now the top stories:
- This week has been highlighted by jitters out of the Cypriot economy, which represents about half of one percent of the eurozone. But for the most part, markets have held up well. The S&P 500 is just a handful of points from an all-time high of 1,565.
- The big highlight of the day was the Fed's FOMC announcement. As expected, they kept interest rates unchanged and reiterated their plan of quantitative easing via monthly purchases of $85 billion dollars' worth of bonds.
- In its updated economic forecasts, the Fed lowered its 2013 unemployment rate forecast to a range of 7.3 to 7.5 percent from a previous range of 7.4 to 7.7 percent. They also lowered their unemployment estimates for 2014 and 2015. However, they also reduced their forecasts for GDP.
- Here was Chairman Bernanke's response to a question about Cyprus: "It's a difficult situation in Cyprus. In a financial sense, it's bigger than it is in a GDP sense, as its banking system is so much larger than its economy. The vote failed, and markets are up today, so I don't think the impact has been enormous."
- Global bellwether FedEx announced disappointing earnings, and it slashed its guidance. " Our lower-than-expected results for the quarter and reduced full-year earnings outlook were driven by third quarter international revenues declining approximately $100 million versus our guidance primarily due to accelerating customer preference for lower-yielding international services, lower rate per pound and weight per shipment ,” said CFO Alan B. Graf Jr. “We expect these international revenue trends to continue." That's not good.
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