The US markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve stood pat on interest rates and offered a positive view of the economy. The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady in its first meeting since President Donald Trump took office, but painted a relatively upbeat picture of the US economy that suggested it was on track to tighten monetary policy this year. The US central bank said job gains remained solid, inflation had increased and economic confidence was rising, although it gave no firm signal on the timing of its next rate move. Fed policymakers are still awaiting clarity on the possible impact of Trump’s economic policies. The Fed said in a unanimous statement that measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late. The Fed also highlighted that the unemployment rate, currently at 4.7 percent, was still hovering near its recent low. The Fed said in its statement that it still expects inflation to rise to its 2 percent target in the medium term, although it noted that inflation compensation was still low and long-term inflation expectations were little changed.
On the economy front, private-sector hiring picked up in January, as employers added 246,000 jobs, well above expectations. This was the fastest pace of job growth since June. Manufacturing added 15,000 jobs in January, the most since December 2014. Details of ADP’s report showed that small private-sector businesses added 62,000 jobs in January, medium-sized businesses added 102,000 and large businesses added 83,000. Most of those gains were in the service sector - 201,000 jobs added there, compared with 46,000 for goods producers.
Meanwhile, American manufacturers grew in January at the fastest pace in more than two years and many executives said the outlook looks stronger at the start of the 2017. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index climbed to 56% last month from a revised 54.5% in December, marking the fifth straight gain. It’s also the highest level since the end of 2014 and the index easily surpassed the 55.3% forecast. New orders (60.4%) shot up to the highest level in two years as did employment (56.1%).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 26.85 points or 0.14 percent to 19,890.94, Nasdaq added 27.86 points or 0.50 percent to 5,642.65, while S&P 500 was up by 0.68 points or 0.03 percent to 2,279.55.
The Indian ADRs closed mixed; HDFC Bank was up 1.25%, Tata Motors was up 0.62% and ICICI Bank was up 0.54%. On the other hand, Wipro was down by 0.18% and Infosys was down 0.18%.