MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500, Dow Poised To Finish At Records Ahead Of Fed Meeting

By Sue Chang, MarketWatch, Ryan VlastelicaFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Bitcoin futures see plenty of action

U.S. stocks rose Monday with the S&P 500 index and Dow industrials on track to finish at records, as investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's next meeting.

Continue Reading Below

The market appeared to shake off news of a terror incident, which resulted in no fatalities, in the heart of New York City.

What are indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 28 points, or 0.1%, to 24,357 and the S&P 500 rose 5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,657. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 30 points, or 0.5%, to 6,870.

On Friday, both the Dow and the S&P ended at records (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nasdaq-flirts-with-weekly-gain-as-tech-futures-lead-us-stocks-higher-2017-12-08) after stronger-than-expected November nonfarm-payroll data.

Technology shares were lifted by chip makers. Nvidia Corp.(NVDA) rose 0.9%, while Advanced Micro Devices(AMD) was up 1.6%.

What's driving the markets?

Investors are focusing on the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting, with an updated policy statement set to be released in two days. The central bank is largely expected to deliver its third and last interest-rate hike for 2017.

See: Fed getting ready to hike as retail sales, but not inflation, picks up (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-getting-ready-to-hike-as-retail-sales-but-not-inflation-picks-up-2017-11-29)

And read:Stock-market investors aren't afraid of the Fed anymore (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/stock-market-investors-arent-afraid-of-the-fed-anymore-2017-12-09)

It is a busy week for central banks, with the European Central Bank and the Bank of England also scheduled to make policy announcements later in the week.

In New York, a would-be suicide bomber set off a device at the Port Authority bus terminal (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/possible-explosion-at-new-york-citys-port-authority-bus-terminal-2017-12-11), law enforcement sources said. There was at least one injury and the wounded was the suspect. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, according to reports. His identity wasn't immediately known.

On the data front, the number of job openings in the country fell to under 6 millio (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/job-openings-in-us-slip-from-record-high-2017-12-11)n in October from a record 6.18 million in the prior month. About 5.55 million people were hired and 4.85 million lost their jobs, the Labor Department reported Monday.

What are analysts saying?

"This market has dealt with fires in Napa, two hurricanes, and now this attack, and we just keep rolling along. I think markets will take this right in step and that the rally will stay on its trajectory," said Kevin Miller, chief executive officer of Systelligence LLC, who oversees the E-Valuator Risk Managed Strategy mutual funds.

"Normally you would expect a huge pullback in an environment like this, but there are a lot of reasons this rally is sustainable, and if the tax bill gets passed, the market will continue to go higher."

Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management Group, expects the Fed to raise interest rates by 25 basis points this week with investors looking for any changes in expectations for future rate hikes and the "dot plot."

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of insurers such as Travelers Companies Inc.(TRV) and Allstate Corp.(ALL) were pressured after wildfires in Southern California worsened, forcing fresh evacuations in two wealthy communities (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/strong-winds-reenergize-devastating-california-wildfires-2017-12-10) in Santa Barbara County. Travelers fell 0.7% while Allstate was down 0.5%.

Those insurers are already facing millions of dollars of losses (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/insurance-losses-from-octobers-wine-country-wildfires-top-9-billion-2017-12-06) related to October wildfires in Northern California's Wine Country.

3M Co. (MMM) said it would sell almost all its communication markets business for $900 million. Shares edged up 0.2%.

Riot Blockchain Inc.(RIOT) said its TessPay Inc. unit had signed a nonbinding letter of intent to merge (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/riot-blockchains-tesspay-signs-loi-to-merge-with-cresval-capital-2017-12-11-8914351) with Canada's Cresval Capital Corp. (CRV.V). Riot Blockchain shares jumped 35%.

Weighing on the Dow was Boeing Co.(BA) , which fell 0.9% on the day. The stock is one of the year's biggest outperformers, having gained 82% thus far in 2017.

Read:Ascension, Providence St. Joseph Health merger would create largest U.S. hospital operator (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ascension-providence-st-joseph-health-merger-would-create-largest-us-hospital-operator-2017-12-10)

And:What stock-market sector looks good in 2018? Think planes, trains and automobiles (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-stock-market-sector-looks-good-in-2018-think-planes-trains-and-automobiles-2017-12-11)

What are other markets doing?

Asian stocks closed higher, led by a 1.1% gain for the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/banks-oil-majors-help-drive-asian-stocks-higher-apple-supplier-hon-hai-rebounds-2017-12-11), while European stocks were mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-edge-lower-as-techs-fall-but-uk-blue-chips-rise-2017-12-11).

Crude-oil prices gained 1%, while gold prices settled lower. The ICE Dollar Index was mostly unchanged.

Bitcoin futures debut

Bitcoin will stay in the spotlight on Monday, after futures contracts for the cryptocurrency began trading on Cboe Global Market Inc.'s exchange on Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

The launch was accompanied by heavy traffic and a sharp move higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-futures-begin-trading-with-a-bang-cboe-website-stalls-2017-12-10). That volatility triggered two circuit breakers--a two-minute halt after a 10% price jump not too long after trading began, and then a five-minute halt a few hours later, after a 20% price surge.

January bitcoin futures last changed hands at $17,970 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-futures-surge-past-18000-while-the-cryptocurrency-itself-rises-toward-17000-2017-12-11), up from a debut price of $15,000. The price of bitcoin itself was moving higher, in step with futures, rising 14% to $16,637, according to CoinDesk (https://www.coindesk.com/price/).

Read: Bitcoin futures are now open--here's what you need to know to trade (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-futures-heres-what-you-need-to-know-2017-12-09)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-futures-heres-what-you-need-to-know-2017-12-09)Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 11, 2017 17:26 ET (22:26 GMT)