Investors had been waiting for, expecting and long dreading the hike in interest rates that came today.
And once it arrived, they decided they didn’t like the idea of having to pay more to borrow money all that much (or the prospect of further rate hikes) and sent the market down.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 0.6 percent, or 118.68, to 19,792.53, having never breached the 20,000 mark as seemed possible.
Among the day’s decliners were Sears Holdings Corp., off 7.6 percent to $10.53; Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 5.6 percent to $1.53; Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 4.1 percent to $13.85; Vince Holding Corp., 4.3 percent to $4.45; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.2 percent to $9.55; VF Corp., 2.5 percent to $54.91, and Nordstrom Inc., 2.3 percent to $57.02.
The Janet Yellen-led Federal Reserve raised its target for the benchmark federal funds rate up a quarter point to 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent and indicated more increase would come next year.
Rising rates is actually a sign that the economy is strong enough to hand them and that higher prices are starting to become somewhat more of a concern than jobs.
In its statement, the fed’s board on monetary policy said: “Job gains have been solid in recent months and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending has been rising moderately but business fixed investment has remained soft. Inflation has increased since earlier this year but is still below the committee’s 2 percent longer-run objective, partly reflecting earlier declines in energy prices and in prices of non-energy imports.”
Of course, many people in the country do not feel that all is well on the job front, with more than 61 people voting the anti establishment Donald Trump into the presidency with employment serving as something of a rallying cry.
Economists from IHS Markit noted: “The long-awaited and much-talked-about (second) Fed rate hike in a decade has come to pass—now on to the next one, and the next one, and the next one …”
IHS noted that the fed pointed to “three more hikes in each of the subsequent years until an “equilibrium” rate of 3.0 percent is achieved—slightly higher than previous predictions.”
“The fed is facing both a more upbeat outlook and a more uncertain policy environment,” IHS said. “It is unclear how much fiscal stimulus will be enacted by the incoming Trump administration and Congress.”