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Stock Market News for March 14, 2017

Benchmarks closed mostly in the green on Monday ahead of Fed’s two-day policy meeting starting today. While both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq moved northward yesterday, the Dow decreased after Intel decided to buy self-driving technology firm Mobileye. Additionally, with the Fed widely expected to hike rates at its Mar 14-15 FOMC meeting, investors looked for clues about the pace and number of further rate hikes this year.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.1%, to close at 20,881.48. The S&P 500 rose 0.87 points to close at 2,373.47. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,875.78, gaining 0.2%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 2.2% to settle at 11.40. A total of around 6.18 billion shares were traded on Monday lower than the last 20-session average of 6.93 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 57% stocks that advanced, 39% declined.

Fed Policy Meeting to Look Ahead

Investors refrained from making big bets ahead of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting, which is scheduled to start today. The central bank is widely expected to increase the key interest rate in the meeting. As per the FedWatch tool of CME Group, expectations about a hike this month are currently at 88.6%. Sectors like materials and financials registered strong gains on Monday, following heightened rate hike prospects.

The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) rose 0.3% and was the biggest advancer among the S&P 500 sectors. Some of its key holdings including, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) and Albemarle Corporation (ALB) advanced 1.5% and 1.7%, respectively. The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) also increased 0.2%.

Although, a rate hike seemed evident this month on the back an encouraging February jobs report, investors awaited more clues on whether at least 2 further rate hikes were likely this year. Consequently, the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) statement is a highly anticipated one.

Additionally, Intel Corporation’s ( INTC) shares fell 2.1% after the Dow component decided to acquire buying self-driving technology firm Mobileye (MBLY) for around $15.3 billion. Declines in Intel weighed on the blue-chip index yesterday. Intel possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

Stocks That Made Headlines

Repsol Reports Significant Onshore Oil Field Discovery in US

Repsol S.A. (REPYY) recently discovered a giant oil field in Alaska, holding as much as 1.2 billion barrels of oil. ( Read More )

BP Rallies on Possibilities of a Takeover by ExxonMobil

Shares of BP plc ( BP) rallied after a London-based newspaper claimed that ExxonMobil Corporation ( XOM) is looking to place a takeover bid for the British energy group. ( Read More )

Spectra Energy Partner to Buy Stake in PennEast Pipeline

Spectra Energy Partners L.P. (SEP), an Enbridge Inc. (ENB) company has inked a purchase and sale agreement to purchase 10% equity stake from PSEG Power LLC. ( Read More )

Zacks' 2017 IPO Watch List

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Freeport-McMoran, Inc. (FCX): Free Stock Analysis Report
Albemarle Corporation (ALB): Free Stock Analysis Report
Intel Corporation (INTC): Free Stock Analysis Report
Mobileye N.V. (MBLY): Free Stock Analysis Report
Repsol SA (REPYY): Free Stock Analysis Report
BP p.l.c. (BP): Free Stock Analysis Report
Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report
Spectra Energy Partners, LP (SEP): Free Stock Analysis Report
Enbridge Inc (ENB): Free Stock Analysis Report
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Zacks Investment Research