U.S. stocks traded higher on Wednesday, Dec. 13, as investors picked through the impact of Democrat Doug Jones' shock election win in Alabama on Republican tax cut plans and as they prepped for the Federal Reserve's final policy meeting of the year.
Jones' narrow win over Republican rival Roy Moore will both reduce the GOP's majority in the Senate and complicate its legislative agenda into mid-term elections next year. The dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback's strength against a basket of six global currencies, was softer at 93.96 in the wake of Jones' victory over Moore, who was robustly backed by President Donald Trump but lost support amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with underage girls.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose 0.41% and 0.21%, respectively, with both indexes on track to close higher for the fifth straight day. The Dow and S&P 500 also traded at intraday record highs. The Nasdaq gained 0.37%.
Finisar Corp. (FNSR) jumped 28% after Apple Inc. (AAPL) invested $390 million in the laser chipmaker. Finisar is Apple's second-largest supplier of the laser technology that Apple uses for facial-recognition capabilities in the iPhone X.
The dollar's weakness held back gains for European and U.K. stocks, keeping them within a tight range ahead of the Fed's final presser of the year -- and the last for outgoing Chair Janet Yellen -- later Wednesday in Washington.
Banking stocks will be in focus Wednesday with the Fed likely to raise interest rates for the third time this year. Shares of Bank of America Corp. (BAC) , JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) traded lower.
Consumer prices in the U.S. rose 0.4% in November, matching forecasts as gas prices moved higher. Core CPI, which strips out food and energy, rose 0.1%.
Global oil prices pared gains on Wednesday after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that domestic crude supplies fell by 5.1 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 8, wider than forecasts.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.2% to $57.26 a barrel.
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) shares were falling slightly in trading Wednesday amid reports that the company is close to an agreement with Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) that would see the Rupert Murdoch-led group sell some of its key media assets for around $40 billion.
VeriFone Systems Inc. (PAY) fell 3.3% after the company issued a disappointing outlook.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) rose 1.5% after analysts at Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of the Boston-based biotech with a "buy" rating and a price target of $175. The stock was up 1.5% to $143 on Wednesday.
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