U.S. Equity Markets bounced around before briefly spiking after the Federal Reserve’s policy announcement, finishing the day mixed as the S&P again closed flat while the Dow finished with a loss of 0.48%. Markets were choppy again before the Fed’s policy announcement, which was the big story of the day. The Federal Open Market Committee ended its two-day meeting, saying it planned to hold its benchmark Interest Rate near zero. The central bank also said it would continue its Monthly Asset Purchases. In his post-meeting press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank was not discussing tapering its asset purchases. The lack of tapering is what sent markets higher, as Wall Street had built up expectations (and fears) that the Fed was going to pull out of the bond market. Another catalyst at work was Big Tech earnings. Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) both put up good numbers yesterday, while Visa’s (V) report showed a rebound in consumer spending. Markets sold off into the close on little news. Earnings will continue to be a focus, with Amazon (AMZN) reporting tomorrow. European Markets closed higher. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union’s $906 billion stimulus plan could play a major role in rebuilding the regional economy. S&P Global said the EU’s recovery plan could boost the region’s economy by as much as 4.1% over the next five years. The European Union’s “”vaccinations increased to 134.8 million yesterday, with a daily average of 2.8 million doses administered last week. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said the country’s COVID-19 state of emergency would end on Friday, with the government easing social-distancing measures as well. But it was not all good news… German Consumer Sentiment fell unexpectedly, as rising COVID-19 cases led to stricter lockdowns. In Asia, Japan’s Retail Sales data for March were greater than expected, indicating that the nation’s economy is recovering despite new COVID-19 restrictions. South Korean Consumer Sentiment increased for the fourth straight month in April to nearly pre-pandemic levels thanks to export strength and vaccine optimism. Australia’s First-Quarter Consumer Price Index data were weaker than anticipated, highlighting that inflation remains tame. Elsewhere, Oil rose 1.14% after the Energy Information Administration reported the U.S.’s inventory build wasn’t as large as initially estimated while both Gold and Bitcoin closed flat.
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