U.S. equity benchmarks closed sharply higher Wednesday, and the S&P 500 missed a record closing high, after the Federal Reserve announced a speedier reduction of its monthly asset purchases in the face of persistently elevated inflation. Fed policy makers also now think official interest rates could rise three times in the coming year, rather than the sole hike penciled in earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up over 380 points, or 1.1%, to reach 35,926, the S&P 500 index advanced 1.6% to 4,709, briefly rising above its Nov. 10 record close at 4,712. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.2% to end at 15,566. All closing levels are on a preliminary basis. The central bank, as expected, announced a faster reduction in the pace of its bond buying to tackle high inflation rates reminiscent of the 1980s. That means it will trim $30 billion from its original $120 billion program of monthly purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, up from a $15 billion cut previously outlined. The Fed's so-called hawkish pivot of more aggressive tapering and earlier-than-expected rate hikes comes amid a surge in inflation that caught many investors and economists, including those from the Fed, off guard.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
12-15-21 1607ETCopyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.