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Sep 19, 2013

RTAmerica | The Resident: RIP American Pride September 19, 2013.

NYT | ALERT FGC BOLSA - FGC FINANCIAL MARKETS SEPTEMBER 19, 2013:24 Hours Later, Fed's Surprise Keeps Investors Scratching Their Heads / Red State Pain

The New York Times | MY ALERTS


Compiled: September 19, 2013 09:39:15 PM


24 Hours Later, Fed's Surprise Keeps Investors Scratching Their Heads
Wall Street is furiously revising expectations about the role the Federal Reserve will play in the economy in the months ahead.


Red State Pain
The Republican party’s animus toward the poor is hurting its own voters.

Latest Stories | CNBC Evening Brief September 19, 2013.


FTC Seeks Public Comment on Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.'s Application to Divest One of Its Casinos in St. Louis, Missouri, to Tropicana St. Louis LLC: FTC | Public Opinion Required

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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on an application by Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. for approval to divest its Lumiere Place Casino, two hotels, and all associated assets in St. Louis, Missouri, to Tropicana St. Louis LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tropicana Entertainment, Inc. In a proposed order, the FTC requires Pinnacle to divest these assets to a Commission-approved buyer to resolve charges that Pinnacle’s acquisition of Ameristar Casinos, Inc. would reduce competition among casinos in St. Louis, in violation of the antitrust laws.  The order also requires Pinnacle to divest casino assets in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Pinnacle previously submitted an application to divest those assets to GNLC Holdings.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Pinnacle’s acquisition of Ameristar would result in increased prices and lower quality for casino customers in the St. Louis and Lake Charles areas. Pinnacle and Ameristar are direct competitors in St. Louis, where both own casinos, and in the Lake Charles area, where they would compete beginning in 2014 after the opening of Ameristar’s new casino.  In its current application, Pinnacle requests FTC approval to sell all assets associated with its Lumiere Place Casino in St. Louis to Tropicana.
The Commission will decide whether to approve the proposed divestiture after expiration of the public comment period.  Public comments may be submitted until October 24, 2013.  Written comments should be sent to:  FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  Comments also can be submitted electronically.  Copies of the application also can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release.  (FTC File No. 131-0064, Docket No. 9355; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see related press release dated August 12, 2013)
The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action.  To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001.  To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs


Related Items:

More news from the FTC >>

DealBook P.M. Edition September 19, 2013: Regulators Fault JPMorgan's Senior management in "Whale"

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Regulators Fault JPMorgan's Senior Management in 'Whale' Case
Regulators Fault JPMorgan's Senior Management in 'Whale' Case Reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the British Financial Conduct Authority reveal how the bank's senior management operated in the crucial days before a shareholder filing on May 10.
In JPMorgan Settlement, Testing the Lines of Admitting Wrongdoing
White Collar Watch: In JPMorgan Settlement, Testing the Lines of Admitting Wrongdoing JPMorgan walked a careful line when it settled with one regulator but not another in the London Whale case, says Peter J. Henning.
Jamie Dimon is the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase.
JPMorgan Agrees to Pay $920 Million in Fines Over Trading Loss More than a year after traders at JPMorgan Chase caused a multibillion-dollar loss, authorities on Thursday imposed fines on the bank and shifted scrutiny senior management.
    Hedge funds are eager to enter Shanghai's financial district.
    Hedge Funds Gain Foothold in China In the next few months, six hedge funds will each be able to raise $50 million from institutions in China to invest around the world as part of a pilot program in Shanghai.
    Veteran UBS Banker to Depart Simon Warshaw, 47, who led the UBS team advising Vodafone, the British telecommunications company, to sell its stake in Verizon Wireless to its longtime partner Verizon Communications is leaving the bank after 27 years.
    Stephen Elop will leave Nokia and rejoin Microsoft.
    Nokia's Former Chief to Collect $25.5 Million From Microsoft Deal Nokia disclosed that Stephen Elop is expected to collect about 18.8 million euros as he prepares to leave the company in the wake of Microsoft's takeover of its handset business.
    Activision Blizzard's Big Stake Buyback Halted by Delaware Court
    Activision Blizzard's Big Stake Buyback Halted by Delaware Court A Delaware court said Activision Blizzard's plan to buy back most of Vivendi's stake in the company for $8.2 billion could not move forward without Activision either winning an appeal or holding or a shareholder vote on the matter.
    Chinese Dairy Company Raises $1.3 Billion in I.P.O. Strong demand from investors for shares of China Huishan Dairy gave a boost to Hong Kong's biggest new share sale since May, raising hopes that the market for I.P.O.'s may be staging a comeback.
    Billabong Gets $542 Million Lifeline From Private Equity
    Billabong Gets $542 Million Lifeline From Private Equity The Australian surfwear company said Thursday it had agreed to accept the financing offer from Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital to help it pay down debt and restructure its loss-making operations.
    Reuters Breakingviews: Lessons for H.P. From Its Offspring Agilent Technologies was considered the producer of nerdy equipment for scientists and engineers when it was spun off in 1999, while Hewlett-Packard was expanding. But Agilent has outperformed H.P. and is now splitting to create yet more value, says Robert Cyran.

MarketWatch | Wall Street at Close Report September 19, 2013: U.S. Stocks Stall Near Fed-Fueled Records.

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch)U.S. stocks on Thursday mostly fell, with benchmark indexes retreating from record highs that came with the Federal Reserve’s unexpected decision not to begin cutting stimulus. 

Thursday’s trade is “just a consolidation of yesterday; people are still trying to absorb the lack of tapering and assess what it means,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.
“We still have the liquid backstop here,” said Eric Wiegand, portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. 

After a four-session winning run, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.26%  lost 40.39 points, or 0.3%, at 15,636.55. The S&P 500 SPX -0.18% index lost 3.18 points, or 0.2%, to 1,722.34.
Bucking the negative trend, the Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.15%  gained 5.74 points, or 0.2%, to 3,789.38. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Oracle Corp. shares ORCL -0.63% erased losses to end nearly 0.1% higher after the business-software provider missed sales forecasts and gave a disappointing outlook.
Rite Aid Corp. RAD -0.66% jumped more than 23% after the drugstore chain raised its profit forecast. 

For every two stocks rising, roughly three fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 738 million shares traded. Composite volume hit 3.7 billion. 

On Wednesday, both the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 index finished at record highs, Treasury yields fell sharply and gold rallied, as the Federal Open Market Committee said it needed further signs of economic improvement before it starts cutting its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, otherwise known as quantitative easing. 

Global view
MarketWatch's Polya Lesova surveys Thursday’s market landscape. 

The FOMC decision reflects its members “agree things have improved, but not as much as they would have liked. The important point for investors is unless you’re really a short-term trader, you should be realizing the economy is getting better and the Fed will begin to reduce its bond purchases, whether it’s next month, the end of the year, or the beginning of 2014,” said Warne, who advised positioning portfolios for longer-term rates rising. 

Lost in the shuffle on Thursday was the day’s economic data, which included dicey weekly jobless-claims numbers, with processing delays in California and Nevada, along with the Labor Day weekend, skewing the latest numbers. Still, the more reliable monthly average has claims near a five-year low. 

Separate reports had the Conference Board’s leading economic index climbing 0.7% in August, slightly above expectations, and the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index rising in September.
Thursday’s economic reports took a back seat to Wednesday’s surprising FOMC decision, which the market is still trying to digest, according to Wiegand at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. Thursday’s news was “less weighty,” he said, “by order of magnitude.” 

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for October delivery declined $1.68, or 1.6%, to settle at $106.39 a barrel, while gold futures for December delivery GCZ3 +4.44% jumped $61.80, or 4.7%, to $1,369.40 an ounce. 

Gold’s rise is “solely a reflection of the weaker dollar,” said Warne, noting that when the U.S. currency weakens, it takes fewer greenbacks to buy the same amount of gold. 

After getting hit on Wednesday, the dollar DXY +0.14% on Thursday edged higher against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and Treasury prices declined, with the yield on the 10-year 10_YEAR +2.19% used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumer loans rising 5 basis points to 2.747%. 

“The Fed is probably comfortable with the 10-year Treasury yield at 2.5%, but very uncomfortable with it at 3% given the current macro environment,” said Nick Raich, CEO at the Earnings Scout, who believes Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wanted to taper, but held off due to the spike in mortgage rates, which threatens the housing recovery. 

“The Fed surprise reduced 10-year rates, which is good news for people who are thinking about buying a house, but they probably shouldn’t wait too long,” said Warne, adding that people should factor in higher longer-term interest rates over the next six months. 
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

Gold will be only beneficiary of Fed's retreat, Grant Williams tells KWN: GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH SEPTEMBER 19, 2013.

Gold will be only beneficiary of Fed's retreat, Grant Williams tells KWN

1:50p ET Thursday, September 19, 2013

Singapore fund manager and newsletter editor Grant Williams, interviewed today by King World News, joins those who expect the Federal Reserve to lose control of the bond market even as it keeps up its high level of bond monetization.

Eventually, Williams says, investors "will realize that if the Fed doesn't buy the government bonds, then nobody is going to buy them." Gold, Williams thinks, will be the only beneficiary of the Fed's canceling its plan to reduce its bond buying.

An excerpt from the interview is posted at the King World News blog here:

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

MoneyShow Investors Daily Alert September 19, 2013: The Fed Postpone the Moment of Truth

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Gold futures score best daily gain since 2009: Gold in the News: Metal Stocks | MarketWatch September 19, 2013.

By Myra P. Saefong and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) Gold futures rallied Thursday to score their best daily dollar and percentage gains since 2009 after the Federal Reserve’s surprise move to maintain its bond purchases. 

December gold GCZ3 +4.62%  jumped $61.70, or 4.7%, to settle at $1,369.30 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, their highest close since Sept. 9. 

On a dollar and percentage basis, the gains were the largest for a single session since March 19, 2009, according to FactSet data, based on the most-active contracts. Interestingly, the gain that day was also Fed-induced. The daily dollar rise Thursday was also the third largest on record, based on FactSet data that go back to November 1984. 

Silver SIZ3 +7.63%  fared even better percentage wise, with its December contract shooting up 8%, or $1.73, to $23.29 an ounce, for its highest close in over a week. The daily percentage gain was also the largest since March 19, 2009. 

To continue reading click: 

CMI Spot Prices as of Close of Trading in New York September 19, 2013.

Spot Prices as of close of trading in New York
Thursday, September 19, 2013

Updated 9/19/2013 Today Change Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago
GOLD $1,369.85 +$61.70 $1,331.45 $1,366.80 $1,770.70
SILVER $23.30 +$1.71 $22.18 $23.21 $34.61
PLATINUM $1,475.40 +$38.70 $1,446.90 $1,511.70 $1,642.50
PALLADIUM $740.00 +$38.50 $692.30 $755.70 $674.90

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin September 19, 2013.

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Thursday, 19 September 2013

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London close: Strong finish for UK markets after Fed decision
After a strong day's trading at around 90 points above the opening bell, the FTSE eased somewhat lower in late trading to close at 6,625.39, 66.57 points (1.01 per cent) above yesterday's finish.

The surge came after the Federal Reserve surprised market participants with its decision to maintain its bond-buying strategy on the back of softer growth.

Acting as a modest counter-balance, data showed that UK retail sales growth suffered a slowdown in August following a particularly strong July.

Worth noting nevertheless, economists at UBS raised their forecasts for GDP growth in the UK to 1.5% for 2013 (from 1.1%) and to 2.3% in 2014 (from 1.8%) previously.

Back across the Atlantic, initial weekly US unemployment claims rose by 17,000 to 309,000 in the week ended on September 7th (Consensus: 330,000).

The Federal Reserve bank of Philadelphia's monthly manufacturing index improved to 22.3 points from 9.3 in August [Consensus: 10.3].

Federal Reserve holds bond-buying at $85bn a month

Following its two-day policy meeting, the Fed announced it had decided to stick with its approach of buying $85bn of debt a month, but said it could still potentially scale back this sum by the end of the year.

In its report, the Fed said that while household spending and business fixed investment has advanced, and the housing sector has been strengthening, mortgage rates have risen further and fiscal policy is "restraining economic growth".

As such, and as a part of its goal "to foster maximum employment and price stability", it has "decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases".

UK manufacturing recovery continued in September, CBI says

The recovery in the UK's manufacturing sector continued in September, according to the results of the Confederation of British Industry's [CBI] latest industrial trends survey.

At +9.0 the totals orders index is now at its highest since the start of the financial crisis, versus a reading of 0.0 for the month before and an expected print of +2.0.

Commenting on the survey Stephen Gifford, CBI Director of Economics, pointed out the fact that: "Firms are more upbeat about growth prospects in the coming quarter than at any time since 1995."

UK August retail sales suffer in comparison to strong July

UK retail sales growth suffered a slowdown in August after July proved a particularly strong month.

Customers reined in their spending, particularly on food items, causing volumes to drop 0.9% month-on-month, falling short of expectations for a 0.4% rise. Food sales alone declined 2.7% month-on-month. Annually, the rate of growth slowed to 2.1%, versus forecasts for a gain of 3.3%.

FTSE 100: Miners track metal prices higher

Mining stocks were the biggest risers on Thursday as the price of precious metals jumped. Randgold Resources, Fresnillo, Anglo American and Antofagasta were among the miners who gained on an increase in commodity values.

Aberdeen Asset Management was rebounding today after yesterday suffering a target cut from Morgan Stanley.

Regulatory price increases have allowed water and sewage group United Utilities to raise revenues and profits in the first half of the year, prompting the stock to rise. The company said it anticipated underlying operating profits would be moderately higher than the first half of last year in the six months to the end of September due to tight control of costs.

Vodafone was one of just small handful of fallers, which commentators were attributing to recent director sales (some post exercise).

Supermarket chain Tesco was down after Nomura cut its rating from 'buy' to 'neutral' and reduced its target to 400p from 430p.

FTSE 250: African Barrick Gold rises on appointment of CFO

African Barrick Gold led the risers on the news it has appointed a new Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Wray, who originally joined the company as Head of Corporate Development and Investor Relations in 2010. He will retain his existing responsibilities in addition to those of his new role. Jaco Maritz, who assumed the role of Acting Chief Financial Officer earlier this year, will revert to his original position of Vice President of Finance.

On the top tier, mining stocks were the biggest risers as precious metal prices jumped. Making the strongest gains were Polymetal, Lonmin, and Hochschild.

FTSE 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,841.00p +8.11%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 390.80p +6.40%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,069.00p +6.05%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,412.00p +4.67%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,635.00p +3.65%
Schroders (SDR) 2,608.00p +3.57%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,303.50p +3.56%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,080.00p +3.55%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,588.00p +3.31%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,564.00p +3.30%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,852.00p -1.45%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,294.00p -1.22%
G4S (GFS) 250.00p -0.99%
Rexam (REX) 491.60p -0.79%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 209.75p -0.76%
William Hill (WMH) 419.20p -0.66%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,576.00p -0.57%
Next (NXT) 5,115.00p -0.49%
BT Group (BT.A) 341.30p -0.44%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,406.00p -0.42%

FTSE 250 - Risers
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 156.70p +15.39%
Polymetal International (POLY) 705.50p +7.87%
Lonmin (LMI) 348.30p +5.45%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 402.20p +5.32%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 420.00p +4.14%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 382.50p +3.60%
JPMorgan Indian Inv Trust (JII) 328.30p +3.56%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 212.80p +3.10%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 335.00p +2.92%
Genesis Emerging Markets Fund Ltd. (GSS) 540.00p +2.76%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Rank Group (RNK) 159.00p -3.87%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 774.00p -3.85%
Computacenter (CCC) 524.50p -3.76%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,113.00p -3.64%
BBA Aviation (BBA) 309.80p -3.19%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,836.00p -3.08%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,100.00p -3.05%
National Express Group (NEX) 257.20p -3.02%
Xaar (XAR) 772.00p -2.77%
Beazley (BEZ) 214.90p -2.50%

FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Ark Therapeutics Group (AKT) 0.44p +4.76%
Skyepharma (SKP) 84.88p +4.14%
Vislink (VLK) 48.50p +3.74%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 16.25p +3.17%
Promethean World (PRW) 17.50p +2.19%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 138.50p +1.28%
Filtronic (FTC) 63.75p +0.79%
Ricardo (RCDO) 544.50p +0.65%
IShares Euro Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 177.34 +0.60%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 2.60p +0.58%

FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
RM (RM.) 108.00p -5.47%
CML Microsystems (CML) 530.00p -2.03%
Puricore (PURI) 40.00p -1.23%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 137.50p -0.90%
Innovation Group (TIG) 29.75p -0.83%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 178.75p -0.83%
NCC Group (NCC) 160.00p -0.78%
Sepura (SEPU) 151.00p -0.49%
Microgen (MCGN) 127.00p -0.49%
Torotrak (TRK) 27.38p -0.45%

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Europe close: Stocks rise after Fed decision, US data
- Traders welcome Fed's QE decision
- US existing home sales rise
- US unemployment claims increase
- ECB fears banking reviews will deter investors

FTSE 100: 1.02%
DAX: 0.51%
CAC 40: 0.63%
FTSE MIB: 1.16%
IBEX 35: 0.69%
Stoxx 600: 0.47%

European equities extended gains Thursday as investors welcomed the Federal Reserve's surprise announcement that it would maintain monetary stimulus.

The central bank's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said it keep up its $85bn of monthly asset purchases until it sees more evidence of recovery.

"Conditions in the job market today are still far from what all of us would like to see," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said at a press conference in Washington after European markets closed Wednesday.

Economists had expected the Fed to reveal a tapering of between $10bn to $15bn per month. Bernanke first indicated a trimming of the bond buying programme this year in May.

ETX Capital Market Strategist Ishaq Siddqi predicts the Fed will announce a of trimming its bond buying programme at the end of the year.

"Bernanke had his chance to fire the first round but held back," he said. "His reasons appear to be valid; there's going to be a big fiscal showdown in US Congress over the new budget to lift the debt ceiling. That said, Bernanke is on his way out with a new Fed president replacing him at the start of 2014.

"Given that market participants were prepared for tapering and that logically, it would have been sensible for Bernanke to start the taper ball rolling, I feel the Fed failed to seize on the opportunity to send the market a strong message by withdrawing its favourite drug.

"Risk sentiment may have got a nice kick up after the Fed meeting but the momentum behind this rally is certainly not credible, just like the Fed's reputation at the moment."

Also in the US, a report on existing home sales showed an increased annualised rate of 5.8m in August from 5.39m the month earlier, trouncing the consensus for an annualised rate of 5.25m.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's monthly manufacturing index improved to 22.3 points from 9.3 in August, beating expectations for a reading of 10.3.

Initial weekly US unemployment claims rose by 17,000 to 309,000 in the week ended September 8th, compared to the previous week's 294,000 and economists' estimates of 330,000.

The country's current account deficit improved to -$98.9bn in the second quarter, from -$104.9bn in previous three months. Economists had expected -$97.0bn.

In the UK, the Confederation of British Industry's total orders index for UK manufacturing in September rose to +9.0, from 0.0 the month before (Consensus: +2).

As an aside, economists at UBS raised their forecasts for gross domestic product growth in the UK to 1.5% for 2013 from 1.1% and to 2.3% in 2014 from 1.8% previously.

UK retail sales grew by 2.1% year-on-year in August, versus forecasts for a gain of 3.3%, another report showed.

ECB fears bank review will scare investors

The European Central Bank has voiced fears that investors might be scared way by its reviews of banks next year when it takes over supervision of all euro-area lenders.

The ECB will conduct a risk review, analyse banks' balance sheets and implement stress tests in collaboration with the London-based European Banking Authority.

The central bank is trying to avoid releasing conflicting numbers at different times, particularly for banks that are financially unstable, at risk of deterring investors.

ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet and Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said two companies must avoid giving different estimates of how much extra capital banks will need to raise.

Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank said its cap on the franc remains "very, very important" for the country's economic growth despite signs of recovery in Europe.

The SNB has kept its ceiling on the franc at 1.20 per euro. The central bank set the cap in September 2011, citing the risk of deflation and a recession after investors concerned about the region's sovereign debt crisis pushed the franc close to parity with the euro.

"The global recovery is very slow," Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan told Swiss Radio SRF in an interview after the Zurich-based central bank's quarterly policy review on Thursday. "The risks may have receded, but they've not disappeared."

Miners gain on rising commodities

Randgold Resources and Fresnillo advanced as the price of gold and silver rose.

Petrofac jumped after announcing its consortium won a contract for works on KLPE's integrated petrochemicals complex and infrastructure project in Kazakhstan.

Asos surged as Jefferies International issued a 'buy' rating after the online fashion retailer beat fourth quarter forecasts.

ThyssenKrupp gained after Steinbrueck, who leads the opposition party Social Democrats, said it was "imperative" to prevent a break-up of the German steelmaker.

Havas declined after Barclays downgraded the French advertising company to 'equal weight' from 'overweight'.

Euro rises, oil falls

The euro bounced up 0.11% to the 1.3536 US dollar.

Brent crude futures fell $0.600 to $109.940 per barrel.

US Market Report
US close: Stocks leap on surprise Fed decision
US stock markets closed significantly higher on Wednesday after the Fed surprised with its decision to maintain its bond-buying strategy on the back of softer growth.

Following its two-day Committee meeting, the Fed announced it had decided to stick with its approach of buying $85bn of debt a month, but said it could still potentially scale this sum back by the end of the year.

In its report, the Fed said that while household spending and business fixed investment has advanced, and the housing sector has been strengthening, mortgage rates have risen further and fiscal policy is "restraining economic growth".

As such, as part of its goal "to foster maximum employment and price stability", it has "decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases".

The statement continued: "Accordingly, the Committee decided to continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40bn per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45bn per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction."

The Fed believes this strategy should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative. The expectation is that this in turn should "promote a stronger economic recovery and help to ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with the Committee's dual mandate".

Chairman Ben Bernanke also added that the Fed currently has no plans to increase short-term interest rates.

The news prompted the S&P 500 to rise to a record intraday high of 1,729.44, while the Dow Jones hit its own intraday record of 15,709.58, and ended up at a record 15,676.94.

In other news, J.P Morgan Chase is reportedly set to face a fine in excess of $900m in relation to last year's trading debacle. The fine would be imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve.

Oracle shares took a hit after the company said it expects second quarter revenue growth of between -1% and +2%, compared to expectations of +3%.

Other Markets

Crude oil ended the session up 0.31% at $108.41 a barrel, while gold closed up 4.19% at $1,307.60.

Investors embarked on a dollar sell-off following the surprise Fed decision, taking the dollar index, which measures the US dollar against a basket of six rivals, to 80.081, its lowest level in seven months. On Tuesday the index traded at 81.167.

S&P 500 - Risers
Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) $52.58 +9.22%
Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) $30.87 +8.24%
D. R. Horton Inc. (DHI) $21.33 +6.92%
Lennar Corp. Class A (LEN) $37.33 +6.54%
Aon plc (AON) $73.95 +5.63%
PulteGroup Inc. (PHM) $17.93 +5.47%
HCP Inc. (HCP) $43.95 +5.24%
Salesforce.Com Inc. (CRM) $52.49 +5.19%
FedEx Corp. (FDX) $116.25 +5.03%
Boston Properties Inc. (BXP) $110.89 +4.91%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) $21.36 -5.65%
Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX) $62.89 -4.64%
WellPoint Inc. (WLP) $84.39 -4.40%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $59.62 -3.89%
CIGNA Corp. (CI) $81.25 -2.95%
E*TRADE Financial Corp. (ETFC) $16.98 -2.86%
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) $26.86 -2.68%
Humana Inc. (HUM) $96.95 -2.66%
MetLife Inc. (MET) $48.63 -2.51%
Lincoln National Corp. (LNC) $43.82 -2.47%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
Alcoa Inc. (AA) $8.56 +3.57%
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $77.37 +2.07%
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $39.59 +2.06%
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $24.80 +1.74%
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) $76.42 +1.69%
General Electric Co. (GE) $24.86 +1.68%
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) $29.04 +1.40%
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD) $60.44 +1.38%
Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $85.91 +1.23%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) $125.82 +1.19%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $73.04 -1.71%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) $52.58 +9.22%
Randgold Resources Ltd. Ads (GOLD) $79.19 +7.60%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) $309.17 +4.23%
Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR) $57.82 +3.56%
Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) $40.62 +3.33%
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH) $83.59 +3.07%
Expeditors International Of Washington Inc. (EXPD) $45.23 +3.05%
Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) $246.35 +2.62%
Amazon.Com Inc. (AMZN) $312.03 +2.59%
Priceline.Com Inc. (PCLN) $995.09 +2.56%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Catamaran Corp (CTRX) $50.82 -8.20%
Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX) $62.89 -4.64%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $59.62 -3.89%
Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $64.28 -1.24%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $77.11 -1.18%
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP) $58.05 -0.84%
Xilinx Inc. (XLNX) $47.69 -0.64%
Henry Schein Inc. (HSIC) $105.20 -0.41%
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) $44.27 -0.40%
Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) $372.50 -0.39%

Broker Tips
Broker tips: Asos, Sinclair, Booker
Online fashion retailer Asos impressed investors on Thursday as it beat fourth quarter forecasts to wrap up the year in style.

The AIM-listed company lifted retail sales 47% to £208m in the fourth quarter to produce a 40% increase to £754m for the full year, supported by rapid growth in Europe and the US.

Jefferies International recommended a 'buy' rating and a target of 6,200p following the report.

"The trading update today demonstrated robust revenue growth, +46.4% for the fourth quarter, +33% for the first half – ahead of consensus expectations for full year (FY) 2013 at +37%. The 1:5:5 aspiration very much in play, drives consensus FY15 earnings per share to 86p," the broker said.

Sinclair IS Pharma was issued a 'buy' rating by Jefferies International after reporting a jump in pre-tax profit for the full year 2013.

Adjusted profit before tax and exceptional items soared 69% to £4.3m as sales rose 7.7% to £55.4m, driven by aesthetic non-surgical facelift products.

"Strong growth of aesthetic brands and partners' revenues from Asia/MENA [Middle East and North Africa] offset the challenging European Union environment, which together with substantial operating leverage drives adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation [EBITDA] 15% ahead of our estimate," Jefferies said, issuing a target of 48p.

However, the broker said the company's outlook was "vague" with management saying they expect European Union growth to accelerate and international operations and aesthetics to be the primary top-line drivers. "No specific like-for-like revenue or profitability targets are outlined in the press release," the broker added.

Booker Group's shares rose as Investec reiterated a 'buy' rating for the UK food wholesale operator as it reported its interim results.

Total sales in the 24 weeks to September 13th, including cash-and-carry wholesaler Makro, rose by 16.5% on the same period last year, as the warm summer weather boosted customer numbers.

"We expect continued progress from the core Booker business, and are looking for around 8% profit before tax (PBT) progress in the first half – i.e. PBT of £55m," Investec said. "This implies earnings per share of 2.55p after accommodating the extra shares issued for Makro."

MarketWatch | European Markets at Close Report September 19, 2013: German DAX ends at record as Europe stocks rally.

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 
LONDON (MarketWatch) Germany’s DAX 30 benchmark closed at a record and a broad Europe benchmark ended at the highest level in more than five years Thursday as investors got their first chance to react to the Federal Reserve’s surprise decision to leave bond purchases unchanged. 

“The market is taking the view that ongoing liquidity pumped into the system is a good thing for the financial systems,” said Will James, manager of the Standard Life Investments European Equity Income Fund.

3 stocks for Thursday
MarketWatch's Polya Lesova joins the News Hub with today's three stocks to watch. Photo: AP.

“But I’d be surprised if we continue to see those gains. I think there’s got to be a degree of reflection about what this really means…It’s because the Fed doesn’t think the economy is strong enough,” he added.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP +0.57%  gained 0.6% to close at 315.05, while Germany’s DAX 30 index DX:DAX +0.67%  added 0.7% to 8,694.18, marking a record close.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UK:UKX +1.02%  added 1% to 6,625.39 and France’s CAC 40 index FR:PX1 +0.86%  climbed 0.9% to 4,206.04.
U.S. stocks traded mostly lower after closing at record highs on Wednesday.
The solid gains in Europe came after the U.S. Fed late Wednesday decided against reducing its $85-billion-a-month asset purchases and said it would wait for more evidence of economic progress. The central bank cited rising mortgage rates and reduced federal spending as headwinds that “could slow the pace of improvement in the economy.” European markets were closed when the Fed made its announcement, but most had expected a cut of about $10 billion a month in the bond purchases.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the central bank might still scale back its bond buys before the end of the year, but that it will depend on whether growth and the pace of hiring show greater strength.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke


The decision against a September taper also boosted gold and silver prices, triggering a rally for Europe’s precious miners. Polymetal International PLC UK:POLY +7.88%  surged 7.9%, Randgold Resources Ltd. UK:RRS +8.11%  jumped 8.1% and Fresnillo PLC UK:FRES +6.05%  gained 6.1%. 

“A number of stocks that either have a commodity, an emerging markets or a growth angle to them are bouncing today. They have been under pressure lately on worries about [Fed] tapering and the impact it would have on those end markets,” James from Standard Life said. 

Other than the mining firms, he also mentioned Nestle SA CH:NESN +1.20% , up 1.2%, and Unilever PLC UK:ULVR +3.31%   UL +1.66% , up 3.3%, as companies with notable exposure to emerging markets. 

Banks also gained, with Intesa Sanpaolo SpA IT:ISP +3.65%  up 3.7% in Milan, Standard Chartered PLC UK:STAN +3.30%  climbing 3.3% in London and Deutsche Bank AG DE:DBK +1.24%   DB -0.22%  ticking 1.5% higher in Frankfurt. 

Among other notable movers in Europe on Thursday, shares of Roche Holding AG CH:ROG +0.80%  gained 0.8%. A report in Dealreporter said the Swiss drug maker was eyeing a takeover of U.S.-listed BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. BMRN +1.69% . A representative from Roche declined to comment on the report, while BioMarin wasn’t immediately available for comments. 

Also in Zurich, shares of Cie. Financière Richemont SA CH:CFR +2.05%  rose 2.1% and Swatch Group AG CH:UHR +1.71%  picked up 1.7% after data showed Swiss watch exports rose 0.5% in August.

The Federal Reserve  Bloomberg
Fed postpones the moment of truth
The Federal Reserve kept the punch bowl spiked a little longer in a surprise decision that postponed investors’ day of reckoning, writes Howard Gold.
In surprise, Fed decides not to ‘taper’
Here we go again: Fed cuts U.S. growth forecast
Bernanke misquotes another chairman
Fedspeak for the rest of us: Part I
Your guide to Fedspeak: Part II

Shares of Scania AB SE:SCVB +2.80%  climbed 2.8% after the Swedish truck maker said it didn’t see the normal seasonal downturn in European order bookings in July and August. 

Shares of Airbus-parent European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. FR:EAD +1.73%  added 1.7% in Paris after Deutsche Lufthansa AG DE:LHA -0.37%  said it will order 59 long-range jetliners from Airbus and Boeing Co. BA +0.73% . Lufthansa shares were down 0.4%. 

The broader markets shook off downbeat retail data from the U.K., showing sales dropped 0.9% in August after a solid 1.1% rise in July. 

Meanwhile, a monthly survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed U.K. manufacturers are the most upbeat in 18 years

The data calendar was heavy in the U.S.. Some 309,000 Americans filed for jobless claims last week, which beat analysts expectations. The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index jumped to a reading of 22.3 in September from 9.3 in August, while the leading economic index for the U.S. rose 0.7% in August to 96.6. 

Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter based in London. Follow her on Twitter @sarasjolin.