October 20, 2021

U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated it doesn’t see an imminent rollback of the monetary stimulus that has been supporting the economy throughout the pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 338.48 points, or 1.%, to 34,258.37,

The S&P 500 spiked 41.45 points, or 1%, to 4,395.64,

The NASDAQ Composite jumped 150.45 points, or 1%, to 14,896.85,

Major averages have registered losses for September, a historically choppy month for stocks. The S&P 500 is down 2.8% so far in September, including a 1.7% drop on Monday for its worst day since May.

The Dow is down about 3% in September.

Commodity-related stocks led the comeback Wednesday as fears eased about ripple effects from Evergrande. Devon Energy surged more than 7%, while APA, Diamondback Energy and Marathon Oil all jumped about 5%. China exposed Wynn Resorts bounced more than 2%.

FedEx shares tumbled 8% after profit fell at the shipper last quarter because of rising labor costs. FedEx also cut its forecast for the full year.

At the center of investor concerns is embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande, which is facing a possible default if it can’t make millions of dollars in debt payments on U.S. dollar-denominated bonds this week.

Evergrande’s shares in Hong Kong are down nearly 90% since July 2020 as China cracks down on real estate speculation. Investors worry about a step down in global economic growth if China slows its property market too much or lets Evergrande fail.

Helping sentiment overnight was word from Evergrande that its real estate group would pay the interest on time on a mainland-traded bond denominated in yuan.

Stocks came off their highs after Fed Chair Powell said the central bank’s further progress test has been met on its inflation mandate and

“many” members believe that test has been met on the employment mandate as well. This indicates the Fed is just about ready to begin removing stimulus.

The Fed is still split on the timing of the first interest rate hike. Wednesday’s so-called dot plot of projections showed nine of the 18 FOMC members expect a rate increase in 2022. That’s up from seven in June’s Fed projections.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys were higher, lowering yields to 1.31% from Tuesday’s 1.32%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices added $1.49 to $71.98 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices dropped $10.90 to $1,767.20 U.S. an ounce.

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