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S&P 500   3,811.15
DOW   30,932.37
QQQ   314.14
S&P 500   3,811.15
DOW   30,932.37
QQQ   314.14
S&P 500   3,811.15
DOW   30,932.37
QQQ   314.14
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World shares mixed as focus turns to Federal Reserve meeting

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer


A woman cycles past by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. Stocks were mixed in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Stocks are mixed in Europe and Asia as markets focus on the Federal Reserve policy meeting that ends Wednesday.

Shares advanced in Paris and Tokyo but fell in London and Hong Kong.

The Fed is expected to keep its extremely supportive policy stance unchanged given the slow progress in vanquishing the pandemic, analysts said.

Markets have meandered since last week as investors weighed solid corporate earnings results against renewed worries that troubles with COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and the spread of new variants of coronavirus might delay a recovery from the pandemic.

With the virus spreading like “wildfire" in parts of the world, the first half of the year might be “lost," Stephen Innes of Axi said in a commentary. “ Some are even concerned that vaccines may not prove useful enough to eradicate the virus. And these concerns will continue to linger over markets like a dark cloud until vaccine distributions get ironed out, and a definitive drop in contagion levels can thoroughly support the vaccine efficacy results."

The reality that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 billion stimulus package won’t be “rubber stamped” by the U.S. Senate is also weighing on sentiment, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.

For now, “ranging is a summation of the state of play in the financial markets at the moment," he said.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index added 0.3% to 28,635.21, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 0.3% to 29,297.53. The Kospi in South Korea sank 0.6% to 3,122.56, while the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher to 3,573.34. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7% to 6,780.60.

Overnight, the S&P 500 lost 0.1% to 3,849.62 but was within 0.2% of the record high it set Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1%, to 30,937.04. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite also slid 0.1%, to 13,626.06. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 0.6%, to 2,149.86.

This is the busiest week so far of quarterly earnings reporting season for U.S. companies.

More than 100 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to tell investors this week how they fared during the last three months of 2020. As a whole, analysts expect S&P 500 companies to say their fourth-quarter profit fell 5% from a year earlier. That’s a milder drop than the 9.4% they were forecasting earlier this month, according to FactSet.

The fate of Biden's plan to send $1,400 to most Americans and deliver other support for the economy remains uncertain given the slim majority of the Democrats in the Senate. But on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are prepared to push ahead with the relief package, even if it means using procedural tools to pass the legislation without Republicans.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged lower to 1.03% from 1.04% late Tuesday.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 29 cents to $52.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 16 cents to $52.61 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 32 cents to $55.96 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 103.79 Japanese yen, up from 103.62 yen late Tuesday. The euro slipped to $1.2122 from $1.2163.

___

AP Business Writers Alex Veiga, Damian J. Troise and Ken Sweet contributed.


7 Stocks That Could Provide a Year-End Rally

It’s rough in the markets right now. Underlying the volatility is uncertainty. The VIX Index (INDEXCBOE: VIX) otherwise known as the Fear Index is unofficial, but an eerily accurate predictor of market sentiment. And the VIX is up 30% in the last month.

Is this uncertainty due to concerns over additional lockdown measures? Is it about the lack of additional coronavirus stimulus? Is the market reacting to a surge in jobless claims? Or is this just the somewhat normal volatility that comes in an election year that promises to be like none in American history.

The answer is all of the above and then some. But does that mean you should stay out of equities? I don’t think so. Where are you going to go? The Fed has promised interest rates are going nowhere fast. And that bit of news is weighing down the bond market.

So stocks it is. But although growth-seeking investors may be tempted to look at the tech sector to see what’s on sale today, I suggest taking a more targeted approach. Rather than looking at a single sector, try to look at solid performers in different sectors that may be ready to surge over the last three months.

The pandemic brought the entire market down. But once investors took a breath they found bargains. And if you had the courage to put your money to work in those stocks, you’ve been rewarded.

Times like these call for the same type of courage. And that’s why we’ve put together this special presentation with seven stocks that look ready to surprise investors with nice end-of-year gains.

View the "7 Stocks That Could Provide a Year-End Rally".

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