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Overnight Markets: US stocks fall after Fed statement

Overnight Markets: US stocks fall after Fed statement

Wall Street declined on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said in its latest statement that economic growth had stalled but indicated it will maintain its programme to buy securities.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 44 points, or 0.32%, at 13,910. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down six points, or 0.39%, at 1,502. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 11 points, or 0.36%, at 3,142.

At the end of a two-day policy meeting, the US central bank repeated its pledge to keep purchasing securities until employment improves substantially. The statement followed data that showed the economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter.  Gross domestic product fell at a 0.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter.

However, the shares were supported as private sector employment exceeded forecasts with the ADP National Employment report showing 192,000 jobs were added in January, higher than the 165,000 expectation.

Energy and industrial companies fell the most. Chesapeake Energy rose 6% a day after the company said Aubrey McClendon would step down as chief executive. General Electric Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. had the biggest declines in the Dow, each falling 1.2%.

Peabody Energy Corp. dropped 6.4% after the coal producer was cut to sell from underperform by David Lipschitz, an analyst with Credit Agricole Securities (USA).

Shares of Facebook Inc fell 5.9% after the bell following the company's earnings announcement. Both Boeing Co and Amazon.com shares gained after earnings beat expectations. Amazon rose 4.8% to and Boeing rose 1.3%.

Research In Motion plunged 12% after the company, which is changing its name to BlackBerry, unveiled a long-delayed line of smartphones in hopes of a comeback into a market it once dominated.

Homebuilders also slipped with Lennar Corp. declining 2.4%. D.R. Horton Inc. retreated 3.2%.  

In Asia, share fell on Thursday in late morning trade after Japan’s industrial production missed estimates and US growth unexpectedly stalled.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.3% to 133 as of 11:02 a.m. in Tokyo.  Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.5%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.5%, while South Korea’s Kospi Index retreated 0.3%. Taiwan’s Taiex Index slumped 0.3% even after its economy expanded more than estimated in the fourth quarter.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retreated 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.2%.

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