Stocks mixed as investors digest Fed outlook for economy

Stocks were mixed to mostly lower today as investors continued to interpret the new guidance from the Federal Reserve which is now looking at potentially raising interest rates as soon as 2023.

The S&P 500 index was down less than 0.1% as of 9:05 a.m. Central. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.3%.

Fed policymakers on Wednesday estimated that they would raise interest rates twice by late 2023, earlier than a previous forecast of no hikes before 2024. That’s because the Fed indicated it sees the U.S. economy improving faster than previously expected, through trillions of dollars of government aid and ultra-low interest rates.

But the recovering economy has put upward pressure on prices, pushing the price for many raw materials and basic goods higher this year. It’s given some investors concerns about inflation.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.54%. The U.S. dollar rose against several currencies, including the euro and British pound, following the news from the Fed.

Investors got a bit of mildly disappointing economic news when the Labor Department said the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week rose slightly, despite widespread evidence the economy is improving nationwide. The 37,000-claim rise to 412,000 comes despite near constant weekly declines for that metric since the beginning of the year.

Ford rose 1% after saying its outlook for the second quarter is improving thanks to strong customer reservations for four of its new vehicles.