Click here to see how markets responded to the Fed's rate hike. The story below was updated at 10:56 a.m. EST.
U.S. shares rose Wednesday ahead of a widely expected Fed rate hike, the first in nearly a decade. The financial services sector led the morning rally as investors bet that borrowing costs would begin to rise heading into 2016.
“It’s a sigh of relief. It’s a highly anticipated that the Fed’s finally raising rates by a quarter of a percent and buttressing it with language of growing rates very gradually next year,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “Finally we’re going to the script that the Fed would like to write, and this ought to be welcomed by the stock market.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose Wednesday by 54.98 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,580. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) advanced 6.77 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,050. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 13.46 points, or 0.26 percent, to 5,009.
Eight out of 10 S&P 500 sectors were up, with the declines reflected in energy and tech stocks. Gains were led by utilities and telecommunications. Dow gains were led by insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), as Obamacare enrollment was extended on high demand, and Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK), after the drugmaker won federal approval for a drug that reverses the effect of a muscle relaxant used during surgical procedures.
Leading late-morning Dow declines was chemicals giant E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co. (NYSE:DD), commonly known as DuPont, following last week’s rally on news of a proposed merger with Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE:DOW). Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) led Dow declines earlier in the day as investors sold following Tuesday’s energy stocks rally.
Global oil prices fell ahead of Wednesday rate hike after touching to 7-year lows earlier this week. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark for oil prices, fell 1.31 percent to $36.86 per barrel for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil prices, retreated 1.95 percent to $37.70 for January delivery on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Asian stocks closed up Wednesday as they caught up to yesterday’s energy stocks rally that sent Wall Street higher on Tuesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 426.84 points, or 2.01 percent, to 21,701. Japan’s Nikkei gaining 484.01 points, or 2.61 percent, to 19,050.
European stocks close higher led by a 47.29-point gain, or 0.79 percent, for London’s FTSE, to 6,065. The French CAC 50 gained 19.78 points, or 0.43 percent, to 4,634. The German DAX rose 45.53 points, or 0.44 percent, to 10,496.
“Manufacturing Flash PMIs beat consensus across Europe this morning, which probably did put some folks in a good mood,” Stephen Guilfoyle, managing director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange, said in his emailed Wednesday morning commentary.