On Wednesday, U.S. stocks declined as the Federal Reserve suggested a possible pause to its rate-hiking campaign in June, but indicated that rate cuts were unlikely. The S&P 500 dropped by 0.7% at the market close, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 200 points or 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.46%. The Fed raised the target range for its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% and left options open for June, saying that future rate hikes would depend on the impact of previous rate hikes on the economy. The central bank also considered the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments in its decision.
Analysts had predicted that recent bank failures, sticky inflation, and a hot but softening labor market could lead to a pause in June. However, prior to the Fed’s decision, private companies unexpectedly added 296,000 jobs in April, above economists’ call for 148,000, and the ISM services PMI increased to 51.9 in April from 51.2 in March.