Investors mostly held their collective breath throughout Wednesday waiting for a highly anticipated Federal Reserve statement and news conference.
The statement issued at 2 p.m. said the Federal Reserve would keep buying $85 billion in bonds per month, with no indication it might “taper” the program, and stocks started up in response. However, at his news conference just after 2:30 p.m., Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the Fed could start to scale back the program by mid-2014 if economic predictions held up, sending the markets the other direction.
After an accelerated late-day selloff, the S&P 500 lost 1.39% to close at 1628.93, with all 10 sectors lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.35% to end at 15112.19, while the Nasdaq dropped 1.12% to 3443.20.
In an otherwise slow corporate news day, Photoshop and Acrobat software maker Adobe (ADBE) rose more than 5% after reporting higher-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit, and increased demand for Creative Cloud, the subscription-based version of its software package.
FedEx (FDX) shares rose over 1% after it posted a larger-than-expected quarterly profit as its ground shipment business did well, and the company also announced it will lay off 3,600 employees in a cost-cutting move.
Japan’s Softbank (SFTBY) jumped over a hurdle in its attempt to buy wireless provider Sprint (S) after rival bidder Dish Network (DISH) declined to make a new offer to counter Softbank’s recently re-upped bid. Sprint shares fell by more than 4% while DISH moved ahead fractionally.
Finally, Men’s Wearhouse (MW) fired co-founder and executive chairman George Zimmer — known as the “I guarantee it” spokesperson for the clothing retailer. MW was little moved, dropping just more than 1%.
- Ruckus (RKUS): Up 5.5% (63 cents) to $12.04.
- Linn Energy (LINE): Up 4.4% ($1.39) to $32.98.
- Vivus (VVUS): Up 3.1% (43 cents) to $14.19. (Read more here.)
- Tetra Tech (TTEK): Down 13.6% ($3.64) to $23.09.
- Blackberry (BBRY): Down 4.5% (66 cents) to $14.15.
- Herbalife (HLF): Down 3.2% ($1.60) to $47.97.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.