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Stocks Drop After Fed Releases Minutes From Policy Meeting

S&P 500 falls back from all-time high
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 19, 2020 4:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Stocks turned lower in late trading on Wall Street Wednesday, handing the S&P 500 a loss a day after it closed at a record high. The benchmark index fell 14.93 points, or 0.4%, to 3,374.85, a day after it wiped out the last of its losses created by the pandemic and surpassed its Feb. 19 peak, the AP reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also gave up an earlier gain and lost 85.19, or 0.3%, to 27,692.88. The Nasdaq composite dropped 64.38, or 0.6%, to 11,146.46. Apple’s market value briefly topped $2 trillion, the first time a US company has passed that threshold, though indexes turned lower in the afternoon after the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its latest policy meeting.

The central bank has been one of the main pillars propping up the market after it slashed short-term interest rates to their record low and essentially promised to buy as many bonds as it takes to keep markets running smoothly. The Fed’s minutes showed again that policy makers are finding it difficult to forecast the path of the economy, which will depend greatly on what happens with the virus. Fed officials said in the minutes that the rebound in consumer spending had been "particularly strong," in part because of the income support provided by Congress. Minutes of each Fed meeting are released after a three-week lag. But businesses remained cautious about their spending, the minutes said, as they "continued to report extraordinarily high levels of uncertainty and risks."

(Read more stock market stories.)

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