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US close: Stocks eke out gains ahead of FOMC meeting

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Tuesday 15 Sep 2020

US close: Stocks eke out gains ahead of FOMC meeting

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks closed mostly higher on Tuesday ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting and following Apple's first virtual-only product reveal.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up just 0.01% at 27,995.60, while the S&P 500 was 0.52% firmer at 3,401.20 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 1.21% stronger at 11,190.32.

The Dow closed just 2.27 points higher on Tuesday, extending gains recorded in the previous session as a raft of corporate deals and optimism around a Covid-19 vaccine led a broad market rally.

The Federal Reserve will start its policy-setting meeting later in the day, with a news conference and a fresh statement from Central Bank officials set to follow on Wednesday. The Federal Open Market Committee's meeting will be its first since launching its new policy framework of targeting average-inflation.

Sentiment also got a boost from data out of China, which revealed retail sales rose 0.5% in August, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Over to Apple, the tech giant revealed its new smartwatch and iPad devices during its digital product launch, as well as a new personalised fitness subscription service and a host of other updated products.

In earnings news, shares in cruise line operator Carnival fell on Tuesday after the group revealed it had swung to $2.86bn loss in the third quarter.

On the macro front, import prices increased more than expected in August, according to the Labor Department, while the previous month's figures were also revised sharply higher, indicating that inflation pressures may very well be building up.

Import prices rose 0.9% last month, while data for July was revised to 1.2% from 0.7%. Export prices increased 0.5% in August following a 0.9% gain in July.

Elsewhere, New York Federal Reserve revealed that its Empire State manufacturing index rose to 17 in September - up significantly from August's reading of 3.7 and much better than expected.

Lastly, industrial production rose 0.4% across the US in August, according to the Federal Reserve, a markedly weaker increase than in the prior two months - which were revised to 6.1% and 3.5%, respectively.

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