DJIA Today: Dow Industrials Struggle for Direction Ahead of Fed Speakers

Dow industrials fumbled around the break-even point before finishing flat on Monday, as investors turned their attention to multiple Federal Reserve speakers later in the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average pared losses to close at 20,905.86, after trading within a 70-point band during the day. Twelve of the index’s 30 members recorded a loss, versus 17 that finished higher.

Stock markets opened flat, reflecting tepid trading conditions in the pre-market hours. By the end of New York trading, all of Wall Street’s major indexes were lower. The large-cap S&P 500 Index declined 0.2% to 2,373.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index erased losses to close at 5,901.53.

Following the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates last week, investors are turning their attention to a handful of central bank speeches in the coming days. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will headline the schedule with an opening keynote at the Federal Reserve Community Development Research Conference on Thursday.

Later in the day, Minneapolis Fed President and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) member Neel Kashkari will deliver a speech at the same venue. Kashkari was the only FOMC member to vote against raising interest rates at last week’s policy meeting.

The Fed’s decision was accompanied by a tepid forecast that showed no material change in the economic outlook when compared to December. Policymakers continue to anticipate economic growth in the vicinity of 2% annually over the next three years.

The economic calendar heats up in the second half of the week with multiple high profile data releases. The Commerce Department will report on February new home sales on Thursday, followed by durable goods orders the following day. Separately, IHS Markit will release its PMI Composite gauge for the month of March.

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Sam Bourgi is a financial market analyst for economiccalendar.com. He has more than six years of progressive experience in economic and financial analysis, research consulting and sectoral analysis. As a published author in government, peer-reviewed, online and industry sources, he has developed a fundamental approach to the financial markets with a broad focus on stock indices, commodities and the technology sector. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Windsor and Master’s degree from McMaster University.