Dow: 17,554.3 +39 (+0.2%)
S&P 500: 2,032.1 +9.6 (+0.5%)
Nasdaq: 4,667.4 +12.5 (+0.3%)
Equity indices enjoyed their third consecutive advance on Wednesday with the S&P 500 climbing 0.5%.
The highly-anticipated policy meeting at the European Central Bank will take place tomorrow morning, but that did not stop the Wednesday session from being filled with central bank-related storylines. The Bank of Japan got the ball rolling overnight by lowering its inflation outlook to 1.0% from 1.7%, which boosted the yen (117.80).
The Bank of England was next on tap with the minutes from its latest policy meeting. The minutes were a bit surprising as Messrs. McCafferty and Weale, who previously voted in favor of rate hikes, rejoined the majority in their belief that hiking rates too early would prolong the period of low inflation. The newfound dovish tilt at the BoE helped UK’s FTSE spike 1.6% to outperform the region.
The Bank of Canada unexpectedly slashed the main overnight interest rate to 0.75% from 1%, a move that sent Canadian stocks higher and the Canadian dollar weaker. In a statement, the Bank of Canada said the move to cut rates followed the decline in the price of oil, which the BoC said will be negative for growth and underlying inflation in Canada.
The surprising move from Canada comes ahead of Thursday’s highly anticipated European Central Bank meeting, at which the ECB is expected to announce a quantitative easing program. Reports in The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg on Wednesday said the program will likely involve the ECB buying €50 billion worth of bonds monthly for at least one year.
Dow Jones Industrial Average -1.5% YTD
Nasdaq Composite -1.5% YTD
S&P 500 -1.3% YTD
Russell 2000 -3.2% YTD