Stocks struggle to hold gains
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 4:40 PM

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In New York, stocks eased off earlier gains Tuesday afternoon, as investors found little reason to jump into the fray after the Fed kept rates steady and left its bond-buying plan alone.

The Dow Jones Industrials pointed upwards 47.98 points to close at 11,476.50

The S&P 500 moved up 1.13 points to 1,241.59. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.81 points to 2,627.72.

About two-thirds of the 30 Dow issues advanced, with Kraft Foods, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft leading the way.

Stocks had rallied out of the gate Tuesday morning, following a better-than-expected retail sales report from the U.S. Commerce Department, and held onto gains for most of the afternoon.

Investors remain somewhat cautious as they wait for Congress to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. The compromise between President Obama and Republicans in Congress could face a final Senate vote Tuesday, after passing a key test Monday.

An extension of the Bush-era tax cuts would keep cash in the wallets of Americans. Since consumers are responsible for the lion's share of spending in the U.S., confident consumers willing to spend is key to an economic recovery.

Best Buy shares slid 16%, after the home electronics retailer lowered its fiscal year outlook and posted a 3.3% decline in quarterly same-store sales.

Shares of General Electric edged higher after the company released presentation slides ahead of its annual investors meeting that reiterated the company's upbeate outlook. GE said it "will deliver solid earnings growth in 2010, 2011 and beyond," as its performance continues to strengthen.

Economically speaking, the Federal Reserve did as expected and held interest rates near 0%, where they have been since the financial crisis took hold in 2008.

The central bank also maintained its rhetoric on the economy, saying that although it is recovering, the pace is not fast enough to combat the unemployment rate.

The Fed said it is moving ahead with its plan to pump $600 billion U.S. into the economy, known as quantitative easing or QE2, and did make any changes to the program.

Government reports on retail sales and inflation at the wholesale level came out before the market opened.

A report on retail sales was better than expected on strength in gasoline prices and clothing sales: U.S. retail sales rose 0.8% in November the Commerce Department said, better than the 0.5% that economists were expecting, according to consensus estimates from

Excluding the automotive sector, sales popped 1.2%, more than the 0.6% increase economists had been expecting.

The producer price index for November increased 0.8% in November, more than the 0.5% gain that was expected. Core PPI -- which excludes food and energy prices -- rose 0.3%, a larger increase than the 0.2% expected.

After the market opens, another report is expected to show business inventories grew 1.1% in October.

The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped sharply, raising the yield to 3.45% from Monday's 3.28%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil settled back 51 cents a barrel to $88.12 U.S.

Gold futures for February delivery rose $1.30 to $1,399.30 U.S. an ounce.

(Source: )
(Source: Quotemedia)


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