Dow closes in on weekly gain

Shares on Wall Street clung to their gains in late trading on Friday.

The Dow fleetingly broke above 15,000 before slipping back below the psychologically-significant level once more, but was still in positive territory deep into the final hour of trading on Wall Street, up 0.15% at 14,959. The S&P 500 also made gains, rising 0.26% to 1659.5. At these levels, both stock index benchmarks are on course to finish the week higher.

Shockwaves had reverberated through the stock market earlier, after Vladimir Putin said at the Group of 20 meeting that Russia would assist Syria in the event of a US attack. Tensions were alleviated when this was explained as meaning Russia would continue to provide its current level of assistance to Syria.

This goes to show that any fresh news regarding Syria has the potential to rattle the stock market, but the sell-off regarding Mr Putin’s comments appears to have been just a transitory knee-jerk reaction, with focus eventually switching back to the implications of jobs data that had been released earlier.

August’s payrolls figure undershot estimates, while June and July were subject to sizeable downward revisions, and this has dampened speculation that the Fed might be ready to announce a significant reduction in its monthly asset purchases as this month’s FOMC meeting.

Voting members of the Fed Charles Evans and Esther George both gave speeches today. Esther George, the President of the Kansas City Fed, spoke in favour of tapering at September’s meeting. This is nothing particularly new, as Esther George has consistently voted against further stimulus.

Charles Evans, the President of the Chicago Fed, said that the Fed should defer tapering until both inflation and economic growth start to accelerate. ‘To start the wind-down, it will be best to have confidence that the incoming data show that economic growth gained traction during the third quarter of this year and that the transitory factors that we think have held down inflation really do turn out to be transitory,’ he said.

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