by Sinéad Carew and Amruta Khandekar

(Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange ended higher on Tuesday as investors prepared for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed) rate decision, which kicked off its two-day monetary policy meeting, and studied mixed quarterly results.

The Dow Jones index gained 0.38%, or 123.91 points, to 33,052.87 points.

The broader S&P-500 gained 26.98 points, or 0.65%, to 4,193.80 points.

The Nasdaq Composite advanced 61.76 points (0.48%) to 12,851.24 points.

The Fed is expected to announce after its meeting on Wednesday that it is maintaining interest rates at their current level. Investors will scrutinize the press release from the American central bank and the press conference of its president, Jerome Powell, to find clues on the continuation of its monetary policy.

Optimism about a new pause in the Fed’s monetary tightening campaign was, however, altered by disappointing results and concerns about the geopolitical situation.

The three main Wall Street indices end October with a monthly decline, the third in a row, which constitutes the worst series for the S&P-500 and the Dow Jones since the start of 2020, i.e. at the peak of the COVID pandemic. .

Over the month, the S&P-500 fell by 2.2%, the Dow Jones by 1.4% and the Nasdaq by 2.8%.

Some investors took advantage of recent declines on Wall Street and a tiny rise in bond yields on Tuesday to try to score good deals, commented Sameer Samana, strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

Noting that a horizon of high interest rates was looming, he added that some investors may have been encouraged by the idea that recent stock market declines “are bringing us back to balanced valuations, versus overvaluations.”

Aside from the Fed’s monetary policy decision, investors are also awaiting the publication on Friday of the monthly employment report from the US Department of Labor. Data released today showing a solid rise in labor costs in the United States in the third quarter fueled fears that the Fed would decide to keep interest rates high for an extended period.

Coming into earnings season, 279 of the S&P-500 companies reported quarterly revenue, 78% of which beat expectations according to LSEG data. Analysts now expect year-on-year growth of 4.9%.

All major sectors of the S&P-500 ended the session in the green, led by real estate, up 2%.

On the stock side, Caterpillar plunged 6.7% as signs of slowing demand overshadowed solid quarterly results.

Amgen fell 2.8% after reporting lower-than-expected quarterly sales for some of its main drugs. Nvidia ended down 0.9% after plunging during the session in the wake of the announcement that restrictions recently announced by the US administration could force the semiconductor manufacturer to cancel billions of dollars in orders from China. Pinterest jumped 19% after reporting quarterly revenue and profit that beat expectations.

( Jean Terzian)

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