Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up for the third straight day Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it would hold interest rates steady.
  • Adobe (ADBE) - Get Report climbed after the San Jose, Calif.-based software company beat Wall Street's second-quarter earnings estimates. Adobe is Real Money's Stock of the Day.
  • U.S. Steel (X) - Get Report shares advanced after the steelmaker said it plans to idle two furnaces in the U.S. and another in Europe as demand weakens and prices fall.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks ended higher for the third straight day Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it would hold interest rates steady, while signaling that rate cuts might be needed soon amid signs of growing risks to the economy.

The announcement came at the end of the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting. The Fed's key rate will remain in a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, according to a statement from the Fed's monetary-policy committee, led by Chair Jerome Powell. But the committee warned of "downside" risks to the current decade-old economic expansion, one of the longest in U.S. history.

"We are prepared to move and use our tools as needed to sustain the expansion," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said during a televised press conference after the decision was announced. He added that the case "has strengthened" for more "accommodative" monetary policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 38 points, or 0.15%, to 26,504, the S&P 500 rose 0.30%, while the Nasdaq advanced 0.42%.

"We're definitely hearing a decidedly more dovish Fed and while you could point the finger at pressure from the White House, it's key to remember that the Fed's focus has always been on two things and two things only: Jobs and inflation," said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E*Trade. "Jobs [are] strong so no worries on that front, but inflation has been consistently below the Fed's target, which would suggest they need to act to get it back to where it needs to be. And amid softening economic data, all other influences could be considered noise until the Fed feels the economy is in the right place, with inflation as their guide."

Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede, said the Fed left rates unchanged, but "laid the foundation for a potential rate cut within the next three months."

"The language within the Fed's statement appears to be setting the stage for a potential rate cut with the removal of 'patient' in reference to the future path of monetary policy," Pride said. "The statement also signals the committee's near-term flexibility and intention to 'act appropriately' to sustain the economic expansion. Such a move by the Federal Reserve could be characterized as an 'insurance' rate cut, a rate cut that is not justified by slowing economic growth but is instead meant to provide a measure of protection from potential but unpredictable risks."

The main risk to the economic outlook, Pride said, "remains U.S.-China trade relations -- either tensions continue to rise and more tariffs go into effect or they return to the negotiating table."

"There appeared to be no major change in economic outlook, as inflation has been muted and actually declined from prior reports," said Brian Pirri, principal at New England Investment & Retirement Group. "The equity and fixed income markets appeared to take this news positively as the Fed set the stage for possible easing later this year, either in July or September." 

President Donald Trump, a constant critic of the Fed, has been pushing for a rate cut. He suggested on Tuesday that Powell's future as head of the central bank may hinge on his consent to lower interest rates. Powell said at Wednesday's press conference that he intends to serve his term.

"The law is clear that I have a four-year term and I fully intend to serve it," Powell said.

Trump has sought to "level the playing field" in global commerce with lower interest rates, and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi promised to re-start the bank's €2.6 trillion bond buying program if growth and inflation continue to slow.

Trump, meanwhile, said he would be meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month at the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. The world's two largest economies have been locked in a trade war and Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on $300 billion more in Chinese imports.

The Energy Information Administration said that U.S. crude supplies fell by 3.1 million barrels for the week ended June 14, following two consecutive weeks of gains.

Brent crude contracts for August delivery, the global benchmark, were 17 cents higher from their Tuesday close in New York and changing hands at $62.31 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate contracts for July, which are more tightly linked to U.S. gas prices, were 45 cents higher at $54.56 per barrel.

Shares of Adobe (ADBE) - Get Report  climbed 5.2% to $291.21 after the San Jose-based software company beat Wall Street's second-quarter earnings estimates. Adobe is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

U.S. Steel (X) - Get Report  shares advanced 4.1% to $15.17 after the steelmaker said it plans to idle two furnaces in the U.S. and another in Europe as demand weakens and prices fall.

Canopy Growth (CGC) - Get Report investors were feeling confident ahead of a shareholder vote on the company's proposed $3.4 billion acquisition of U.S.-based cannabis grower Acreage Holdings (ACRGF) . Shares were up nearly 1.8% to $42.78.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Report shares slipped slightly to $51.51 after the carrier boosted the lower end of its second-quarter profit forecast but noted that all 34 of its Boeing 737 MAX jets will remain grounded until at least September.

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