The stock markets in the United States ended the trading session with mixed results today. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 declined while the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 gained.

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Yesterday the U.S. stock markets rallied driven by the statement of the Federal Reserve indicating that the implementation of interest rate hikes would be slower than expected.

Policy makers said they would start raising interest rates they see further improvement in the labor market and feel reasonably confident that the inflation will return to 2%vtarget over the medium term.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at the private banking unit of KeyCorp said, “It would appear from the reaction yesterday, investors would rather have interest rates stay lower for longer than see the economy improve.”

[drizzle]In addition, he said, markets are “stepping back a little” from what happened yesterday, and “might be in for a period of consolidation.”

On the other hand, Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers LLC commented, “We had a big rally yesterday and there’s a tiny bit of profit-taking here.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor reported that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits increased by 1,000 to 291,000 for the week ended March 14.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,959.03 (-0.65%)
  • S&P 500- 2,089.27 (-0.49%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,992.38 (+0.92%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,254.79 (+0.21%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,670.73 (+0.06%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,962.32 (+0.25%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,899.40 (-0.20%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,476.56 (-0.35%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,468.89 (+1.45%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,839.74 (-0.16%)

Stocks in Focus

AT&T declined more than 1% to $33.20 per share due to the report that the company has to pay $40 million in a patent-infringement case because its lawyers failed to read a court document. The company missed a deadline to appeal a jury verdict for $27.5 million plus interest, which was awarded to Two-Way Media LLC in the patent infringement case.

AT&T argued that the missed deadline was “excusable neglect” because of the incorrect entry docket. Its lawyers were not notified when the docket entry was corrected.

The stock price of Facebook closed to a record high at $82.75 per share, up by 2.27% today.  The stock’s momentum shows that investors are confident with the ability of the social network giant to expand its advertising business.

Earlier this month, analysts observed that Facebook is transforming itself into an advertising giant. The company recently reported that it has already more than 2 million active advertisers on its platform.  Some analysts are also predicting that Facebook’s stock price could reach $100 per share.

Yelp closed $45.18 per share, down by 3.5% because of the negative impact brought by the “Billion Dollar Bully,” a documentary project that examines its business practices involving claims of extortion, review fabrication and manipulation.

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