The stock markets in the United States fluctuated and eventually ended the trading session down today. Investors are waiting for the release of the minutes of the meeting of the Federal Reserve as well as the start of the earnings season tomorrow.

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Earlier today, Joe Bell, a senior equity strategist at Scheffer’s Investment Research told Bloomberg, “The market’s kind of treading water here. It seems like waiting for earnings season. You have FOMC minutes on Wednesday so probably just a continued monitoring of a lot of the economic reports to get any clue or indication how soon they might increase rates.”

Yesterday, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis commented that raising the federal funds rate this year would be a mistake. He added that it is necessary for policymakers to “extraordinarily patient” when it comes to reducing the level of monetary accommodation.

Philippe Gijsels, chief strategy officer at BNP Paribas Fortis in Brussels, commented that investors are again in a strange situation where bad economic news may be interpreted as good because the Federal Reserve delays an interest rate hike.

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“Each word by the Fed will be looked at from all sides. The minutes will also be closely looked at, and the same goes for the economic data, as the Fed has indicated that a hike is very data dependent,” said Gijsels.

The Federal Reserve reported that the consumer borrowing in the United States increased $15.5 billion in February, higher than the $12.5 billion gain estimated by economists polled by Bloomberg.

The report also indicated that the revolving debt including credit card spending declined by $3.7 billion while the non-revolving credit including college tuition and vehicle purchases rose by $19.2 billion in February. The Federal government’s lending to consumers primarily student loans increased by $6.4 billion.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,874.88 (-0.03%)
  • S&P 500- 2,076.23 (-0.21%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,910.23 (-0.14%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,255.04 (-0.44%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,768.72 (+1.44%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,961.77 (+1.88%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 12,123.52 (+1.30%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,640.54 (+1.25%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 25,275.64 (+0.77%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 4,260.04 (+2.15%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Axalta Coating Systems surged almost 10% to $31.11 per share driven by the report that Berkshire Hathaway acquired 20 million shares of the company worth $560 million. Warren Buffett’s conglomerate purchased its stake in Axalta from the affiliates of Carlyle Group.

The shares of Informatica gained more than 4% to $47.79 per share after entering an agreement to be acquired by a company organized by Permian Funds and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for approximately $5.3 billion.

The stock value of Peabody Energy Corporation closed $5.34 per share, up by 5.74% today. Christian Zann of Balyasny Asset Management told CNBC that the stock is a value play in the coal industry.

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