Stocks Thumped by Fed's Disclosure on Stimulus
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages dipped Thursday following a downtrodden tone from the latest minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-making wing of the Federal Reserve. The surprise news outweighed stronger-than-expected employment data for December and a number of upbeat monthly retail-sales reports.
Stock action was more subdued as equities traded in the red for much of the morning, in contrast to the big surge in stocks the previous session. Investors on Thursday booked profits amid worries that U.S. lawmakers' last-minute budget agreement falls short of dealing with the country's deficit.
The FOMC minutes said that its staff "reported on potential risks to financial stability, including those associated with a disorderly resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff, a delayed increase in the federal debt ceiling, or a future deterioration of financial conditions in Europe."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 21 points, or 0.2%, at 13,391.
Sectors traded mixed in the broad market. Conglomerates, consumer non-cyclicals, basic materials, technology, services, utilities and financials were edging lower, while energy, consumer cyclicals, transportation, health care and capital goods were in the green.
Volumes were at 3.77 billion shares at the New York Stock Exchange and 1.75 billion shares on the Nasdaq. Advancers were edging decliners narrowly by a ratio of 1.3-to-1 on the Big Board, but losers beat winners 1.1-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
Sentiment among the FOMC members was split, which was a notable point that hit investors.