Dow Jones Rallies But Nasdaq Drops As Stock Market Mixed Ahead Of Key Fed Decision

Stocks were mixed near midday Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, but the Nasdaq tumbled.


The Nasdaq stumbled 1.3%, the S&P 500 fell 0.5% and the Dow Jones industrials climbed 0.3% in the stock market today. Small caps tracked by the Russell 2000 gave up 0.7%. Volume was lower on both major exchanges vs. the same time Tuesday.

The Federal Reserve will deliver its monetary policy decision at 2 p.m. ET, as the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting wraps up.  Investors will be looking for clarity from the central bank and Fed Chief Jerome Powell regarding inflation and rising Treasury yields.

A recent rise in bond yields has raised inflation concerns. The 10-year Treasury yield jumped 5 basis points to 1.671%, a 12-month high.

Tech stocks boosted the Nasdaq to a 43.6% gain in 2020 for its fifth best year ever. The S&P 500 rose 16.3% and the Dow added 7.2% last year. After a strong start this year, the market is now rebounding from a short correction. Read The Big Picture for detailed daily market analysis.

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

Index Symbol Price Gain/Loss % Change
Dow Jones (0DJIA) 32922.07 +96.12 +0.29
S&P 500 (0S&P5) 3944.59 -18.12 -0.46
Nasdaq (0NDQC ) 13303.91 -167.66 -1.24
Russell 2000 (IWM) 228.99 -1.51 -0.66
IBD 50 (FFTY) 46.77 -0.44 -0.93
Last Update: 12:00 PM ET 3/17/2021

Covid-19 Update

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to roil the U.S. economy, as nationwide lockdowns approach the one-year mark. But many states are relaxing restrictions, and there are signs of hope as vaccinations roll out and cases start to plateau in some states.

Cumulative Covid-19 cases worldwide are approaching 121 million, with nearly 2.7 million deaths, according to Worldometer. In the U.S., cases have surpassed 30 million with more than 549,000 deaths, although the number of new cases in the U.S. has slowed dramatically in recent weeks.

Dow Losers And Winners

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), down 3%, was the biggest Dow Jones loser. On Tuesday, shares briefly climbed past a 55.59 buy point of a cup with handle before reversing lower. Walgreens stock is now about 4% below the entry.

Apple (AAPL) gapped down and fell 2%, on track for its first decline this week. It’s been stuck below the 10-week moving average for five weeks as the stock shapes a new consolidation with a 145.19 buy point, according to MarketSmith chart analysis.

On Feb. 18, Apple stock triggered the 7%-8% loss-cutting sell rule when it fell more than 7% below a 138.89 buy point of a cup with handle.

Microsoft (MSFT) slipped 1% in weak trade as it continues to hold above a 232.96 buy point. It’s been finding support along the 10-week line. The potential buy range goes up to 244.61. Microsoft is an IBD Leaderboard and IBD Long-Term Leader stock.

Among other blue chip losers, (CRM), Intel (INTC) and Disney (DIS) gave up about 1% each.

Dow Inc. (DOW), Caterpillar (CAT) and McDonald’s (MCD), up more than 1.5% each, were the biggest Dow gainers.

McDonald’s, up 1.7%, is getting close to a 232.01 buy point of a saucer base. Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the fast-food giant to buy from hold with a 244 price target, citing market share growth potential in international markets. McDonald’s stock is 4% away from the entry.

Outside The Dow

Solar and alternative energy, software and drugstore stocks led the downside among IBD’s 197 industry groups. Those avoiding the decline were mostly defensive plays such as food, beverages and gold miners.

In the alternative energy group, Plug Power (PLUG) gapped down and plunged 16% in heavy trade. The fuel cell systems maker said it will restate its 2018 and ’19 financial statements, as well as some recent quarterly statements due to accounting errors related to noncash items. Plug stock is now more than 50% off its 52-week high

The Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) fell 1.1% as Generac (GNRC), (FLWS) and Plantronics (PLT) shed more than 4% each. Digital Turbine (APPS) and Dynatrace (DT) lost over 3% apiece.

Follow Nancy Gondo on Twitter at @IBD_NGondo


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