Boosted by strong earnings reports from Walmart and Home Depot, Wall Street finished mixed with modest gains, tempered by declines in oil prices and continued geopolitical concerns re: ISIS. Investors are waiting for the release of the latest minutes from the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, set for tomorrow. It could provide more indication of a possible interest rate hike by the Fed next month.
Meanwhile, in a letter that Fed Chair Janet Yellen released to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Yellen strongly opposed a legislative reform act of the central bank. Under the policy rule envisioned by lawmakers, the Fed would commit to moving interest rates up or down depending on the readings of economic indicators like the jobless rate and inflation. Yellen called the proposed law-
“A grave mistake, that would undermine Fed policy and the greater U.S. economy. The bill would severely impair the Federal Reserve’s ability to carry out its congressional mandate and would be a grave mistake, detrimental to the economy and the American people. The Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act (FORM) could cause millions of Americans to suffer and would politicize monetary policy. Unfortunately, the FORM Act attempts to increase transparency and accountability through misguided provisions that would expose the Federal Reserve to short-term political pressures.”
The proposed law in Congress would require the central bank to tie interest rate policy to a mathematical rule. It could see a vote in the House this week. See more from CNBC below.
Here are the closing numbers from Tuesday, 11/17/15 on Wall Street:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 17, 489.50 (+6.49/ +0.04%)
NASDAQ: 4,986.02 (+1.40 / +0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,050.44 (-2.75/ -0.13%)