Wall Street was flat on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve and fall off from the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) data leak weighed on technology stocks.
The S&P 500 was down over one and a half points or 0.07% to 2,715.08 as of 9:41 AM ET (13:41 GMT) while the Dow composite increased eight points or 0.03% to 24,735.30, and tech heavy NASDAQ Composite fell 16 points or 0.23% to 7,347.48.
The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points at 2:00 PM ET (18:00 GMT). Fed chair Jerome Powell gives his first press conference a half hour later. Investors are expecting two more interest rate hikes this year but will be watching closely for any hawkish signs from Powell that rates will raise more than expected. The Fed is also expected to release the new forecasts for economic growth and interest rates, known as the “dot plot.”
A faster rate of hikes could dampen investor appetite for riskier equities.
Facebook continued to be among the biggest losers, falling 2.40% amid a data breach scandal that has shook the company. The social media giant has fallen more than 9% in the last two days, losing nearly $60 million off its market value since news that Cambridge Analytica used data from over 50 million users to target political ads without their knowledge.
In Europe stocks were mostly down. In Germany the DAX fell 42 points or 0.34% while France’s CAC 40 decreased 23 points or 0.44% and in London the FTSE 100was down 25 points or 0.35%. Meanwhile Spain’s IBEX 35 slipped 58 points or 0.61% and the pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 inched down 20 points or 0.59%.
In commodities, gold futures rose 0.81% to $1,322.50 a troy ounce while crude oilfutures surged 1.24% to $64.33 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.44% to 89.61.