Skip to main content

On Wednesday afternoon, news broke that the Federal Reserve is increasing the target range of the federal funds rate by a quarter of a percent.

This marks just the second time that the Fed has increased interest rates in the past decade.

The Fed said that the moves are the result of economic conditions and trying to fulfill its mandate of low unemployment and a 2% inflation rate.

At one point Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to 19,966.43, setting an intra-day high just 44 points away from the 20,000 mark. But by the time Fed Chief Janet Yellen's press conference was over, the Dow industrials were down more than 140 points, or 0.70% to 19,770.

The markets as a whole moved lower during the latter part of the day, with the S&P 500 dropping 0.98% and the Nasdaq Composite slipping 0.61%.

With the Fed increasing rates, business development and spending may begin to slow, which could start the next market correction. Don't get stuck holding the wrong stocks when that happens.

After the initial reports broke that the Fed had increased rates, the Dow industrials' banking stocks popped, with shares of Bank of America,Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase up as much as 2%. The big banks will see positive results from a higher fed funds rates because they can increase the spread between the amount at which they borrow money and at which they lend that money out.

Some of the big Dow industrials losers on Wednesday were Coca-Cola,ExxonMobil and Verizon Communications. These stocks were likely hurt due to investors rotating out of dividend-paying stocks and into bonds.

Those three are income investors' favorites when rates are low because they have a history of paying large dividends. But when rates rise, investors shift to bonds from stocks because bond yields are more reliable and bond prices have less volatility over the short term.

Another big Dow industrials loser was Caterpillar, which fell 2.2% on Wednesday. The stock's fall was likely due to investor fears that higher rates will reduce business investment, meaning that customers will buy fewer large-ticket items, such as expensive Caterpillar machinery.

Meanwhile, shares of IBM bucked the Dow industrials' overall trend, by gaining 0.6%, after the company said that it will hire 25,000 Americans and invest more than $1 billion in job training over the next four years.

Interestingly, IBM said in March that it had more than 25,000 job openings globally but would reduce that number as it worked toward "workforce re-balancing."

Many investors thought that the Dow industrials would finally hit the historic 20,000 mark on Wednesday. But that may not happen anytime soon.

The markets have been on a tear since the election, and the Fed's decision to increase rates may just be the excuse investors need to put the brakes on before the holidays.

Don't be surprised if the markets continue to decline over the next few sessions or even up until Christmas.


With that warning in mind, here is a list of seven companies that you will profit from, regardless of what the markets do. But with many calling for a coming crisis, now is the perfect time to make sure your portfolio is protected. Each one of these powerful, yet overlooked companies barely notices when the market tumbles. And they'll skyrocket when it rebounds. You can pick all seven up for pennies on the dollar right now. But that'll change the instant average investors catch wind of just how bad things really are. Get their names here before it's too late.

The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned BAC, JPM and VZ.