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22 September 2017, 12:14 | Cedric Leonard
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday.
Five of the 11 major S&P sectors ended lower.
USA stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve signaled that it could raise interest rates for the third time this year despite low inflation and disclosed plans to shrink its balance sheet.
More interesting perhaps, while not a foregone conclusion, although many analysts thought otherwise, the Fed's Summary Of Economic Projections held out the possibility of another 25 basis point interest rate hike come December.
The Fed, as expected, said it would begin to reduce its approximately $4.2 trillion in holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities - acquired in the years after the 2008 financial crisis - from October.
In her subsequent press conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the process of winding down the balance sheet would be gradual and predictable.
U.S. stocks have continued to climb this year, with the S&P up about 12 percent so far, helped by strong corporate profits and optimism that U.S. President Donald Trump will cut business taxes.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 259,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week's revised level of 282,000.
Among haven assets, gold prices were 0.4% higher at $1,316.20 a troy ounce, while the Japanese yen was up 0.1% against the US dollar.
"People are still, as they usually are the day before a Fed announcement, kind of in a wait-and-see mode", said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research. Economists had expected the index to drop to 17.2.
A separate report released by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed an unexpected improvement in regional manufacturing conditions in the month of September.
On Tuesday, the three major stock indexes of United States shut at record highs, with the financial stocks providing the biggest boost.
At 3:18p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 65.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,334.33, the S&P 500 gained 2.59 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,502.82 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.10 points, or 0.03 percent, to 6,450.57. Technology stocks were down the most. The consumer staples index.SPLRCS was the biggest decliner with a 0.95 percent drop. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the downtrend and rose by 0.2%. The French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.6% and the German DAX Index is up by 0.3%, although the UK's FTSE 100 Index has edged down by 0.1%.
The weakness among oil service stocks comes amid a modest decrease by the price of crude oil, with crude for November delivery slipping USD0.12 to USD50.57 a barrel.
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