U.S. stocks lost ground Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 0.7 percent to 16,222.17 points and the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group declining 0.8 percent to 922.75 points.
The declines came after the U.S. Central Bank said it will reduce its monthly purchases of US treasuries and mortgaged-backed securities by $10 billion. In addition, the Federal Reserve said it has dropped the unemployment rate as the yardstick for determining economic strength in the U.S. Instead, the Fed will rely on a range of measures to determine when to raise interest rates.
Vera Bradley Inc. was the top gainer Wednesday, up 7.4 percent to $28.20. Tilly’s Inc. rose 5.6 percent to $12.80, while Sears Holdings Corp. rose 5.3 percent to $48.30.
Among those that lost the most ground in trading Wednesday were Nu Skin Enterprises Inc., down 5.8 percent to $72.22; American Apparel Inc., decreasing 3.3 percent to 75 cents, and The Wet Seal, Inc., declining 2.9 percent to $1.65.
Overseas, the European stock markets slipped into negative territory at the close of trading Wednesday, ahead of the latest monetary policy update from the Fed.
The DAX in Frankfurt was the only market that gained ground, rising 0.4 percent to 9,277.05, while the three other markets were down. The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.5 percent to 6,573.13, followed by the FTSE MIB in Milan, 0.3 percent to 20,976.99, and the CAC 40 in Paris, 0.1 percent to 4,308.06.
The euro traded at $1.39, while the pound fetched $1.66, and the Swiss franc equaled $1.14.
Retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest fallers including Koovs, 3 percent to 1.81 pounds; Mulberry Group, 2.1 percent to 6.37 pounds; Compagnie Financière Richemont, 2.1 percent to 81.75 Swiss francs following a downgrade to neutral from Exane BNP Paribas, and market newcomer Boohoo.com, 3.4 percent to 0.65 pounds.
Among the stocks that gained the most ground were Asos.com, 1.2 percent to 58.69 pounds; Inditex, 4.9 percent to 108.10 euros, after posting a one percent gain in full-year profits; and Hermès, 1.2 percent to 237.50 euros.