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Market Snapshot: Stocks end choppy session with gains as investors await Fed decision

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U.S. stocks found their footing in the final hour of trading on Monday, after flipping between gains and losses, as investors prepared for a Federal Reserve meeting that’s expected to deliver another large interest-rate hike and shed further light on the central bank’s plans for monetary policy.

What happened

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+0.64%

finished up by 197.26 points, or 0.6%, at 31,019.68, after falling 263 points at its session low.

The S&P 500
SPX,
+0.69%

closed up by 26.56 points, or 0.7%, at 3,899.89.

The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
+0.76%

finished up by 86.62 points, or 0.8%, at 11,535.02.

Last week, the Dow industrials fell 4.1% to end at 30,822.42, while the Nasdaq Composite saw a 5.5% weekly drop to 11,448.40. The S&P 500 finished Friday at 3,873.33 — falling 0.7% in the session and 4.8% for the week for its lowest close since July 18 and ending below important chart support at 3,900.

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What drove markets

Stocks found upward momentum in the final hour of trading on Monday, shaking off last week’s losses, with the market still focused on this week’s two-day meeting of the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee, which ends on Wednesday. A rate hike of three-quarters of a point is expected, and attention will be put on the accompanying dot plot of rate projections.

Equities pared earlier losses and turned positive as Wall Street embraced Ralph Lauren Corp.’s
RL,
+2.97%

outlook and found value in beaten up home builders and airlines, according to Edward Moya, senior market analyst for the Americas at Oanda Corp.

Shares of Ralph Lauren finished up by 2.9% after the company outlined its strategic growth plan in a statement and said it expects to return about $2 billion in excess cash flow to shareholders through fiscal 2025 in the form of dividends and share buybacks. It is also targeting a compound annual revenue growth rate over the next three years in the mid- to high-single digits.

“It looks like higher-income families are still in a good position to handle the next wave of price increases,” Moya said via phone.

Even so, there’s been “a growing amount of pessimism and diminished appetite for all risk assets,” he said. “We are not going to have extreme positioning ahead of the Fed’s decision, and that’s why trading will be volatile” through Wednesday.

See: Fed to put a ‘firm foot on the brake pedal’ this week

Prior to the final hour of trading, stocks were under pressure as Treasury yields continued to rise, with the policy-sensitive 2-year rate
TMUBMUSD02Y,
3.927%

heading closer to 4%, a level that some say could send shivers throughout the financial market. The last time the 2-year yield ended the New York trading session at 4% or higher was on Oct. 16, 2007, when it closed at 4.127%. Rising yields make bonds look more attractive relative to stocks.

Key Words: ‘More pain to come’ for stocks as S&P 500 likely to bottom around 3,300, Interactive Brokers’ founder says

The U.K. stock market was closed in observance of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London, attended by heads of state including U.S. President Joe Biden.

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Companies in focus

Shares of the three key vaccine makers fell Monday following Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview with President Joe Biden, who said the pandemic is over. Shares of Moderna Inc. 
MRNA,
-7.14%

finished down by 7.1%. Pfizer Inc. 
PFE,
-1.28%

 closed down by 1.3% , while American depositary receipts of its German partner BioNTech SE
BNTX,
-8.60%

dropped 8.6%.

AutoZone Inc.
AZO,
-3.14%

shares finished down by 3.1% even after the auto-parts retailer reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales that rose above expectations, helped by continued strength in its commercial business.

German auto maker Volkswagen AG
VOW,
+3.34%

is targeting a valuation of up to $71.5 billion (75 billion euros) for its initial public offering of Porsche, in what would be one of Europe’s largest-ever IPOs. Volkswagen’s board announced Sunday it intends to list shares between 76.50 and 82.50 euros, in the middle range of analysts’ expectations. Volkswagen’s U.S. common stock
VLKPF,
+3.40%

closed up by 3.4%.

Hear from Ray Dalio at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival Sept. 21-22 in New York. The hedge-fund pioneer has strong views on where the economy is headed.

— Steven Goldstein contributed to this article.

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