ECB Monetary Policy Decision in Focus on Wall Street

By Investors Hub

The major US index futures are pointing to a mixed opening on Thursday following the pullback seen in the previous session.

The mixed performance by the futures comes as traders are digesting the European Central Bank’s monetary policy announcement.

The ECB sprung no surprises as it announced that it will reduce the size of its asset purchases at the start of next year while extending them for nine months, the “lower for longer” style of tapering that economists had expected a dovish Mario Draghi to deliver.

Monthly asset purchases under the asset purchase program will continue at the current monthly pace of 60 billion euros until the end of December 2017, the bank said in its statement.

From January 2018, the net asset purchases will be reduced to a monthly pace of 30 billion euros, which will continue until the end of September 2018, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim, the bank added.

Without announcing an end-date for asset purchases, the ECB has retained room for tweaking or extending them in future if the euro area economic outlook worsens.

Stocks moved notably lower over the course of the trading session on Wednesday after ending the previous session mostly higher.

The Dow fell 112.30 points or 0.5 percent to 23,329.46, the Nasdaq slid 34.54 points or 0.5 percent to 6,563.89 and the S&P 500 dropped 11.98 points or 0.5 percent to 2,557.15.

Profit taking contributed to the weakness on Wall Street after the Dow climbed to a new record closing high in the previous session.

On the U.S. economic front, orders for long-lasting manufacturing goods surged in September, according to new government statistics released Wednesday. The increase was more than economists had expected.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that durable goods orders rose by 2.2% in September. Economists had expected the figure to rise by 1.0%.

New home sales in the U.S. showed a substantial increase in the month of September, according to a separate report released by the Commerce Department.

The report said new home sales surged up by 18.9 percent to an annual rate of 667,000 in September from a revised rate of 561,000 in August.

Railroad stocks showed a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the Dow Jones Railroads Index down by 2.4 percent.

Natural gas, electronic storage, airline and networking stocks also saw considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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