U.S. stocks were lower on Thursday, one day after the Federal Reserve altered language in a statement that indicate interest rate hikes may be on the way.
The Fed dropped the word ‘patient’ from its March statement, leading investors to believe that the days of zero-interest rates are coming to an end. However, when taken as a whole the statement was rather non-committal, and funds futures now see October as the most likely target date for a rate increase. Before the statement was released, analysts were targeting June as the likeliest time frame.
“Just because we removed the word ‘patient’ does not mean we will become impatient,” said Fed Chair Janet Yellen, prompting many economists to alter their predictions.
The Fed’s statement will likely provide this week’s market highlight. Eyes now turn to European summit meetings this weekend, where Germany and other nations will work to solve the Greece crisis once and for all.
On Thursday, oil prices moved down 1.5% to just under $44 a barrel. News from OPEC renewed oversupply fears once more.
Here are the final numbers from Thursday on Wall Street:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 17,959.03 (-117.16)
NASDAQ: 4,992.38 (+9.55)
S&P 500: 2,089.27 (-10.23)