Stocks end lower despite Fed news
U.S. equities enjoyed a brief recovery, before fading again Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve signaled it won’t raise rates this year. Ten-year Treasury yields headed to their lowest in over a year and the dollar fell.
The dovish tone of the Fed announcement unleashed a short rally that saw technology shares surge and energy stocks add to gains, lifting the S&P 500 Index out of a session-long funk and pushing the Nasdaq 100 to its highest level since October. But weakness in the financial and health care sectors left the S&P lower for the day.
Fed predicts no rate increases
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the U.S. economy was slowing more than it had previously thought as it left interest rates unchanged and signaled little appetite for raising them again in the near future. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues said growth appeared to be slowing from last year, under the weight of the Trump administration’s trade war, economic slowdowns in Europe and China and fading stimulus from the Republican tax cuts of 2017. The Fed now expects 2.1 percent growth this year, down from its earlier forecast of 2.3 percent and more than 1 percentage point less than the 3.2 percent growth the White House predicts.
Google is fined $1.7B by the EU
European authorities fined Google 1.5 billion euros (about $1.7 billion) for antitrust violations in the online advertising market, continuing its efforts to rein in big technology companies. The fine is the third against Google since 2017, reinforcing the region’s position as the world’s most aggressive watchdog of an increasingly powerful industry. Regulators said Google had violated antitrust rules by imposing unfair terms on companies that used its search bar on their websites in Europe. All told, the fines against Google total roughly 8.2 billion euros, but Google hasn’t paid any money yet as it is appealing the earlier decisions.
Ford plans for autonomous cars
Ford Motor Co. said it would build its first autonomous vehicles at a $50 million production center in Michigan as part of an earlier pledge to invest $900 million in manufacturing operations in the state. Production of the self-driving vehicles is expected to start in 2021, with hybrid vehicles being shipped in to be fitted with driverless technology. Ford said the work would be done in the Detroit area. In addition, Ford said it planned to invest more than $850 million in its Flat Rock, Michigan, factory and start production on new electric vehicle models there by 2023.