Markets ended moderately higher on Wednesday after major benchmarks recovered from losses incurred earlier in the session. While, the Dow ended in the red, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed in the green. Meanwhile, central banks of India, New Zealand and Thailand announced interest rate cuts.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased less than 0.1%, to close at 26,007.07. The S&P 500 increased 0.1% to close at 2,883.98. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7,862.83, gaining 0.4%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 4.6% to close at 19.23. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.04-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.03-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.
How Did the Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow dipped 22.5 points to close in the red due to broad-based losses. At its session lows, the Dow had dropped as much as 589 points. Shares of Caterpillar CAT lost 1.1% and weighed on the 30-stock index. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The S&P 500 rose 2.2 points to end in positive territory after sinking nearly 2% at its session lows. Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, eight ended in the green, with materials stocks leading the advancers. The Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLB) increased 1.4% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, both the Dow and the S&P 500 exhibited their best turnaround in a session since Dec 27, 2018.
The Nasdaq gained 29.6 points to also close in the green. Shares of Apple AAPL jumped 1% and supported gains for the Nasdaq.
Central Banks of New Zealand, India & Thailand Cut Rates
Citing possibilities of an aggravation in the global economic slowdown due to the U.S.-China trade war, central banks of India, New Zealand and Thailand cut their key interest rates on Wednesday. While, New Zealand reduced its lending rate to an all-time low of 1%, India reduced its repo rate by 0.35% to 5.40%. This was the fourth time in a row that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, has slashed interest rates.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand also cut its benchmark interest rate to counter a weakening economy and tepid inflation levels. The country’s central bank slashed its policy rate to 1.50% from 1.75%.
China Devalues Currency to Historic Lows
After setting its daily currency anchor at 7 yuan against the U.S. dollar, its lowest level since 2008, China pegged its official midpoint reference for yuan at 6.9996. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) fixes the currency on a daily basis, allowing only a 2-percentage-point change on the either end of the currency’s official midpoint.
Stocks That Made Headlines
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