US stocks close mixed on US data, Fed statement

US stocks

New York,  US stocks ended mixed on Wednesday, with the Dow little changed, as Wall Street digested decreased US labour productivity in the third quarter and a speech of Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.07 points, or 0.0003 per cent, to 27,492.56 on Thursday. The S&P 500 increased 2.16 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 3,076.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 24.05 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 8,410.63, Xinhua reported.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded higher around market close, with the health care sector up 0.56 per cent, leading the winners.

Shares of CVS Health rose 5.36 per cent, after the healthcare giant reported higher-than-expected earnings for the third quarter, as driven by its strong health insurance business.

Shares of Wendy’s fell 0.34 per cent, after the company posted third-quarter earnings that beat market estimates. The fast food restaurant chain also raised its full-year outlook for growth.

Evans said during a Wednesday event that the US central bank’s interest rate cuts have not been adequate to “change the dynamics substantially if there was a big negative shock”.

“In terms of the mid cycle adjustment, I would say it’s very much a risk management approach to ensuring the U.S. economy is positioned as well as it can be,” he said at the Council of Foreign Relations, a non-profit think tank in New York City.

On the economic front, non-farm business sector labour productivity fell 0.3 per cent in Q3, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday.

That’s because output increased 2.1 per cent and hours worked rose 2.4 per cent for the quarter, indicating that American workers were less productive.

Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.