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U.S. markets today (Wednesday) rose sharply after the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) June meeting. As expected, the Fed announced it would taper another $10 billion from its monthly bond-purchasing program and that interest rates would remain low in order to incentivize job development and economic growth.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
DOW: 16,906.62 (+0.58%)
S&P 500: 1,956.99 (+0.77%)
NASDAQ: 4,362.84 (+0.59%)
And here are the top stories that affected the U.S. markets today:
- A New Kid in Town: This afternoon, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos announced the release of its newest device, Fire Phone. The device features a new operating system, on which developers can create apps and features. The phone also provides unlimited photo storage and access to its streaming music service for Prime members. With a two-year contract, the phones are priced at either $199 for 32 GB, or $299 for 64 GB. Shares of Amazon rose more than 2.5% on the news.
- A Smartphone Partnership: The same day that Amazon unveiled its own smartphone, it announced a partnership with BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BBRY) to enable the development of more apps on its rival's smartphones and tablets. The agreement will allow Blackberry to add another 240,000 apps. BlackBerry shares rose more than 3.8% on news of the partnership and announcement of the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system, set for release this fall.
- The Evacuation Begins: As geopolitical tensions continue to swell in Iraq, the nation's South Oil Company announced that Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) has begun a "major evacuation" of company personnel. According to Reuters, the company evacuated 20% of its staff. Meanwhile, it's unclear whether other large oil service companies like Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) or Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) will do the same.
- The Solution – More Taxes: Thanks to failure to reign in wasted spending and encouraging no-bid contracts, the U.S. Highway and Bridge Fund is going broke. As a result, two U.S. senators proposed a hike in the federal gasoline and diesel fuel taxes by $0.12 a gallon over the next two years. The national gasoline tax currently sits at $0.184 per gallon, with a diesel tax of $0.244 per gallon. Neither has changed since 1993 due to the political sensitivity of such a proposal.
- Poaching from Rivals: Anyone looking to make the leap from PC to Mac will have a chance to do so on the cheap. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) introduced a 21.5-inch iMac desktop that is designed for entry-level users. The cost of this new computer begins at $1,099. The $200 discount for an all-in-one device requires users to accept a slower processor and reduced hard-drive space.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only:
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.