The Dow Rose On The Day The Fed First Hiked Rates In 2004, Then Fell Over The Next 3 Months

By Tomi KilgoreMarketWatch Pulse

Of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's current 29 components that were around on June 30, 2004, which was the day the Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time during the last rate hike cycle, shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. were the best performer on the day--up 1.4%--while Apple Inc. was the best performer after three months--up 19%. Current Dow member Visa Inc. didn't go public until March 2008. On June 30, 2004, the Fed raised its fed funds rate target to 1.25% from a 45-year low of 1%, the first in streak of 17-straight Fed meetings that rates were raised by a quarter percentage point. The Dow rose 22 points, or 0.2%, that day, but was down 355 points, or 3.4%, three months later. McDonald's Corp.'s stock was the biggest loser on the day, falling 1.6%, while Merck & Co.'s shares fell the most over three months, shedding 31%. However, most of Merck shares' decline came on Sept. 30, when it tumbled 27% after it pulled its arthritis drug off the market because of increased risks of heart attacks and strokes. The next biggest decline was Intel Inc.'s stock which was down 27% three months after that first hike. The Fed will announces its rate policy decision at 2 p.m. Eastern Thursday.

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