The stock market is slightly higher today, but it has given up most of the day's gains in reaction to the Fed press conference that is taking place as I write. In short, the Fed will continue continue to buy bonds to stimulate the economy and will keep short-term rates near zero for the foreseeable future. The Fed also said it doesn't see unemployment falling below 6.5% until 2015, which isn't a great outlook for the economy.
Chairman Ben Bernanke did point out that the fiscal-cliff negotiations taking place in Washington DC will have an impact on policy and projections going forward. He gave a calm but stern warning that the White House and Congress should just get a deal done.
As of 3:20 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained 0.11% on the day, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up 0.19%. Both are off the highs they reached just after the initial Fed announcement.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is up 2.5% today, continuing its volatile daily moves. The company won a bid to provide 1.5 million laptops to students in India -- a large volume even for HP. CEO Meg Whitman also got a big endorsement from tech titan and HP board member Marc Andreessen. He has been a part of some of the largest tech start-ups in history, so his opinion is nothing to sneeze at.
3M (NYSE:MMM) was one of the few stocks that declined in trading today, falling 0.5%. CEO Inge Thulin said he expected to spend $1 billion to $2 billion on acquisitions next year, targeting larger deals than in the past. He also said earnings were expected to be between $6.70 and $6.95, which left the midpoint of expectations a penny and a half below current estimates.
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