- US stocks finished lower in turbulent trading as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s April meeting minutes and continued to warily eye inflation.
- Some Fed officials signaled they would be open “at some point” to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases.
- Bitcoin fell as low as $30,000 per coin on the day before staging a rebound, while ethereum dropped to under $2,500 before paring losses.
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US stocks closed in the red Wednesday, though pared deep earlier losses, as investors digested minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April meeting and continued to warily eye inflation.
The minutes showed central bank officials were cautiously optimistic about the US recovery. Some officials signaled they would be open “at some point” to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases.
Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:
- S&P 500: 4,115.68, down 0.3%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 33,896.04, down 0.5% (165 points)
- Nasdaq composite: 13,299.74, down 0.1%
Jefferies’ Aneta Markowska said the signal about the plan to start adjusting purchases came as a surprise.
“It sounds like the Committee inadvertently started talking about, talking about, talking about tapering. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, the suggestion was only voiced by ‘a number of participants’, and it was conditional on ‘continued rapid progress,'” she said, saying this will not change the timeline for tapering which will be signaled more formally in late August.
She added: “But, it is certainly a change from what we’ve heard so far, and something that Powell did not convey during the press conference. At the very least, it suggests that Kaplan is not the only Fed official getting antsy about the current policy stance,” she added.
Cryptocurrencies whipsawed throughout the day. Bitcoin has fallen to as low as $30,681 and climbed as high as $43,609 within the last 24 hours. The world’s largest cryptocurrency currently is hovering around $38,000. Other cryptocurrencies held on to double-digit percentage losses. Cryptocurrency-linked stocks like Coinbase and Riot Blockchain also fell.
Amid the crypto carnage, some investors remained bullish. Cathie Wood reiterated Ark Invest’s view that bitcoin will climb to $500,000 over the long term in a Bloomberg interview. Meanwhile Microstrategy’s Michael Saylor tweeted: “I’m not selling,” in a reference to bitcoin.
Lumber prices fell for an eighth straight day on Wednesday, deepening a roughly 30% pullback in the commodity.
Gold climbed as much as 1.1%, to $1,890.13 per ounce.