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Stocks seek direction as Fed meeting looms

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U.S. equity markets were mixed Monday morning as the major averages hovered near record highs ahead of the Federal Reserve’s upcoming meeting. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 38 points, or 0.11%, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.04% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.06%. The S&P 500 finished at an all-time high on Friday as both the Dow and the Nasdaq closed in on their own record peaks. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34337.08 -142.52 -0.41%
SP500 S&P 500 4239.67 -7.77 -0.18%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14099.386588 +29.96 +0.21%

The Federal Reserve will begin a two-day meeting Tuesday, and while the central bank is not expected to make any alterations to its policy, traders will be paying close attention to its language around inflation and when it may begin to taper its asset purchase program. 

MARKETS ARE LEAVING LITTLE ROOM FOR THE FED TO BE WRONG ON INFLATION

In stocks, Novavax Inc. said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was over 90% effective and that it intends to file for U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the third quarter. The vaccine, if approved, would be the fourth given the green light by U.S. regulators. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
NVAX NOVAVAX INC. 213.97 +4.29 +2.05%

Elsewhere, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company will resume accepting bitcoin once there is “confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners.” The electric-car maker in May stopped accepting the cryptocurrency nearly two months after allowing its use for payment.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA, INC. 621.15 +11.27 +1.85%

Lordstown Motor Corp. shares were under pressure after CEO Steve Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez both resigned. The company said last week it may not have enough cash to begin production of its electric truck in the fall. This as Ford continues to report brisk orders of its all-electric F-150 truck. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
RIDE LORDSTOWN MOTORS 9.23 -2.18 -19.11%
F FORD MOTOR CO. 14.93 -0.33 -2.16%

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell plc is considering a sale of its assets in the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. oil field, as it looks to reduce its greenhouse gas emission, Reuters reports. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
RDS n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Still, oil firms were broadly higher as West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 77 cents to $71.68 a barrel, its highest since October 2018. 

Gold, meanwhile, fell $28.20 to $1,851.40 an ounce. 

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Overseas markets were broadly higher.

Britain’s FTSE 100 paced the gains in Europe, rising 0.4%, while Germany’s DAX 30 and France’s CAC 40 both gained 0.2%. 

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 0.74% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged up 0.36%. China’s Shanghai Composite was closed for a holiday. 

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