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Wall Street Is Weaker before the Fed's Interest Rate Decision

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Wall Street Is Weaker before the Fed's Interest Rate Decision PART 1 OF 2

S&P 500, NASDAQ, and Dow Pulled Back on March 14

S&P 500

After starting the week on a positive note, the S&P 500 pulled back on Tuesday. Weakness in oil prices weighed on energy shares and pulled the market lower. Shares related to energy, industrials, and materials weighed on the market on March 14. The consumer discretionary is the only sector out of 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 that closed positive.

S&amp;P 500, NASDAQ, and Dow Pulled Back on March 14

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Lower trading volumes 

Trading volumes were low on Tuesday due to the northeastern part of the US getting hit by a snowstorm. Around 6,000 flights were canceled and almost 20,000 homes lost electricity due to the snowstorm. The Fed’s two-day interest rate meeting started on Tuesday. The market expects an interest rate hike.

Better-than-expected US economic data failed to improve the sentiment amid lower trading volumes and falling crude oil. According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the producer price index rose 0.3% in February—better than the expected reading of 0.1%. Frontier Communications (FTR), United Continental Holdings (UAL), and Citrix Systems (CTXS) were the top losers of the S&P 500.

Volatility Index

On March 14, the S&P 500 started the day lower and fell amid lower volumes. The S&P 500 VIX Index (CBOE Volatility Index) measures uncertainty in the market. On March 14, it fell 8.4% to 12.30. It’s measured on a scale of 1–100 with 20 as the historical average. It’s also called the “fear index.” Generally, it moves opposite to stocks’ movements—it falls when the S&P 500 rises.

After a strong performance on Monday, the NASDAQ Composite Index lost strength and pulled back on March 14. The NASDAQ Composite Index fell 0.32% on March 14 and closed the day at 5,856.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average stayed below 21,000. It closed at 20,837.37—a fall of 0.21% or 44.11 points. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) fell 0.38% on March 14. In the next part, we’ll discuss how the energy sector performed on Tuesday.

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