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Markets Right Now: Stocks sink as hopes for rate cuts fade

NEW YORK (AP) — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local): 4 p.m. Stocks fell and bond yields rose after the Federal Reserve lowered its key interest rate for the first time in a decade but left investors feeling uncertain about the likelihood of further cuts.

The quarter-point cut announced Wednesday was widely expected, so investors focused on Chairman Jerome Powell's remarks during a news conference for hints about the Fed's future plans. Powell said there could be more cuts, but the central bank was not intending to embark on a long cycle of lowering rates.

Tech stocks fell the most. Microsoft lost 2.9%. The S&P 500 fell 32 points, or 1.1%, to 2,980. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 333 points, or 1.2%, to 26,864. It was down 478 earlier. The Nasdaq fell 98 points, or 1.2%, to 8,175.

2:10 p.m.

Financial markets are having a muted reaction to the Federal Reserve's decision to cut interest rates, which was widely expected.

Stocks wobbled slightly in the moments after the Fed's announcement at 2 p.m. Eastern time, but within minutes they were trading more or less where they were before the statement was released.

The S&P 500 was down less than 0.1%.

Prices of short-term U.S. government bonds fell after the announcement, sending yields higher.

Some on Wall Street had believed the Fed might act more aggressively in cutting rates by half a percentage point rather than the quarter-point cut it wound up making. The smaller cut prompted investors to lighten up on bonds.

The yield on the 2-year Treasury climbed to 1.82% from 1.80% before the cut.

11:45 a.m.

Stocks are slightly higher in midday trading ahead of a highly anticipated announcement from the Federal Reserve on interest rates.

Wall Street's main focus is the central bank's decision on interest rates later Wednesday. Investors have been betting that the Fed will cut rates for the first time in a decade to help shore up the U.S. economy.

Technology stocks were the clear leaders.

Apple jumped 4.4% after reporting results the night before. Investors were encouraged to see that its sales in China had stabilized despite the worsening rhetoric between Washington and Beijing over trade.

The S&P 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.1%, to 3,016.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27 points, or 0.1%, to 27,224. The Nasdaq rose 22 points, or 0.3%, to 8,296.

9:35 a.m.

Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street led by gains in Apple and other technology companies.

Apple jumped 5.1% in early trading Wednesday after reporting results the night before. Investors were encouraged to see that its sales in China had stabilized despite the worsening rhetoric between Washington and Beijing over trade.

Later Wednesday investors will be closely watching a policy announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The Fed is widely expected to cut its benchmark short-term interest rate for the first time since the financial crisis.

The S&P 500 index edged up 1 point to 3,015.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68 points, or 0.2%, to 27,270. The Nasdaq rose 11 points, or 0.1%, to 8,286.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 2.06%.

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