After slogging through declines earlier today, U.S. stocks bounced back in afternoon trading as the Federal Open Markets Committee said it would not be raising interest rates until improvements in the labor market stabilize.
As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 closed the day up 0.2 percent, to 17,935 and 2,100, respectively. The S&P Retailing Industry Group index gained 0.4 percent to finish at 1,143. Some of the gainers included Ascena Retail Group Inc., which rose 2.3 percent to close at $16.77, and Lands End Inc., which gained 2.6 percent to $24.15. Nordstrom Inc. rose 2.4 percent to close at $75.12. Decliners included Aéropostale Inc., which fell 2.7 percent to $1.80, and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., which declined 3 percent to close at $1.28. New York & Co. Inc. lost 3.1 percent to close at $2.50.
The broader fashion industry, as seen in the 100-issue WWD Global Stock Tracker, ticked down 0.01 percent to 112.02.
In a statement, the FOMC said “economic activity has been expanding moderately after having changed little during the first quarter. The pace of job gains picked up while the unemployment rate remained steady. On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources diminished somewhat.”
However, the committee said “business fixed investment and net exports stayed soft” and inflation “continued to run below the committee’s longer-run objective, partly reflecting earlier declines in energy prices and decreasing prices of non-energy imports.”
IHS Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh said in a research note that the Fed is “preparing financial markets for the first rate hike since 2006 — likely in September” and added that another rate hike “before the end of the year will be needed.”
Behravesh said “given the modest pace of the recovery and few signs of any inflationary threat, the extent of tightening next year and in 2017 will be very slow and slower than was expected before.”