For yet another week, the markets remained fixated on interest rates. Stocks moved down on Wednesday when the Federal Reserve all but confirmed that a rate hike is forthcoming sometime this year. However, comments from Chairperson Janet Yellen revealed little about the timing of that rate hike. As a result, the market continued running in place, going down 0.2% this week.
Monday markets spent most of the day moving up very slowly, in anticipation of important data releases later in the week. Investors ignored the re-emergence of credit concerns from the Euro Zone, where doubts over Greece’s ability to re-pay debts took control. For the day, the Dow was up 49 points.
Tuesday the market started higher, based on surprisingly upbeat new homes numbers. Construction began on 1.13 million new homes in April—more than the expected 1.02 million. However, throughout the day the dollar’s gains in strength pushed markets lower. By the end of the day, the Dow was up 13 points.
Wednesday markets were quiet throughout the morning, as investors awaited the release of the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting. But the minutes reflected a quiet meeting that revealed little more than the Fed’s dedication to being ‘data-dependent.’ The language within the minutes all but confirmed the Fed would raise interest rates sometime in 2015, which was enough to send the Dow down 26 points for the day.
Thursday markets continued to react to the Federal Reserve’s statement from Wednesday, but disappointing data on existing homes sales also weighed on stocks. Experts were expecting an uptick in sales, but a 3.3% drop sent markets lower in the morning. A small afternoon recovery was attributed to a 3% uptick in oil prices. For the day, the Dow stayed level, not gaining or losing a single point.
Friday markets stayed level in the morning, as investors considered the strongest core inflation figure in more than two years. A press conference from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen–the event Wall Street waited for all week–ultimately yielded little in the way of new news. For the day, the Dow was down 53 points.