Equities pressed ahead this morning, weakened in the early afternoon, before rebounding sharply late in the session, and subsequently wilting again near the close. Of note, traders were taking their cue from Washington, where politicians are currently debating the nation’s healthcare system. At the close of the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 60 points; the broader S&P 500 Index was down two points; and the NASDAQ was up 11 points.
Sports footwear and apparel maker NIKE, which is also a Dow-30 member, has reported financial results for its fiscal third quarter (ended February 28th). Earnings bested both our and Wall Street's expectations by a handsome margin, but the revenue figure was a bit below consensus. Investors chose to focus on the top-line shortfall in the trading hours following the release, and the stock was down more than 6% on the news.
The nation's Federal Reserve Board, which may not always do what investors want, at least rarely surprises them these days. The lead bank earlier this afternoon opted to boost the federal funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point, there were few raised eyebrows. Of note, this move had been widely telegraphed in recent weeks, with the odds of an increase in borrowing costs being close to 100% in the days leading up to the Fed meeting.