Shares beat subdued retreat as Fed officials speak

Comments from several Fed officials, reiterating the Fed’s need to eventually taper, have given pause to the stock market’s upward momentum today, but price movements have been slight.

After back to back gains, the Dow has stalled for the moment, slipping back 0.27% or 42 points to 15,741 by early afternoon in New York. The S&P 500 fell slightly more sharply, losing 0.38% or 6.8 points to 1765.1.

Although there hasn’t been quite the same dearth of macroeconomic news as yesterday, today’s economic data has been fairly minor, with a small rise in the Chicago Fed national activity index for September failing to cause any substantial reaction on Wall Street.

Richard Fisher, the head of the Dallas Fed, said in an interview with CNBC that market participants should ready themselves for tapering when it eventually arrives. ‘I understand there's sensitivity,’ he said, ‘But markets should also bear in mind that this program cannot go on forever.’

Dennis Lockhart, the head of the Atlanta Fed, said in an interview with Bloomberg today that at December’s FOMC meeting ‘some discussion of tapering could well take place.’

It’s worth noting that neither Richard Fisher nor Dennis Lockhart are voting members of the FOMC this year. Narayana Kocherlakota, head of the Minneapolis Fed, speaks later today, while Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen gives testimony before the Senate’s Banking Committee this Thursday.

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