The stock markets in the United Stated ended the trading session with mixed results today. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 declined slightly while the NASDAQ & Russell 2000 rose a bit higher.

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The markets were primarily impacted by the decline of equities in the energy sector, which overshadowed the announcement of the Federal Reserve that it would maintain the lower interest rates for a longer period.

The minutes of the meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) released on Wednesday showed that some policy makers raised concern as to when and how the central bank should start increasing the interest rates.

“Many participants indicated that their assessment of the balance of risks associated with the timing of the beginning of policy normalization had inclined them toward keeping the federal funds rate at its effective lower bound for a longer time,” according to the minutes of the FOMC.

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Some of the policy makers also expressed concern regarding the possibility that the public could question the 2% goal of the committee in certain circumstances. In light of the outlook for inflation, a member of the FOMC recommended to the committee that it should “consider ways to use its tools to provide more, not less accommodation.”

Commenting on the FOMC minutes, Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust told Bloomberg, “The fact that they’re staying slow on moving up rates makes you think that the economy might not be as strong as we think it is. We still haven’t gotten to the point where a stronger economy and the Fed considering moving rates is an explicit positive for the market.”

The FOMC also noted the rapid growth of industrial production, and it believes that the declining oil prices will boost consumer spending. Today the price of Brent Crude oil dropped 3.92% to $60.08 per barrel while the WTI crude oil declined 3.46% to $51.68 per barrel.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,029.85 (-0.10%)
  • S&P 500- 2,099.66 (-0.03%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,903.36 (+0.14%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,225.77 (+0.06%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,465.80 (+0.80%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,898.08 (-0.00%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,961.00 (+0.60%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 18,199.17(+1.18%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,832.08 (+0.19%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,522.32 (+0.65%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Boston Scientific surged more than 12% to $16.68 per share after the company agreed to pay $600 million to Johnson & Johnson to settle a lawsuit related to its acquisition of Guidant, which was accused of breaking its deal.

Johnson & Johnson lost the bidding to acquire Guidant after initial deal to acquire it for $21.5 billion. Boston Scientific did not admit any liability by Guidant in the settlement.

The shares of Facebook climbed 1.47% to $76.71 per share after its CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed its intention to increase partnership with Google in providing internet access worldwide.

Fossil Group plummeted more than 15% to $83.69 per share after reporting fourth quarter earnings that miss the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. The company posted $0.03 in earnings per share in $1.07 billion in revenue.

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