Stocks Slow as Week of Predicted Upheaval Sets In 

MANHATTAN (CN) — As indictments rock Capitol Hill on Monday, the stock market braces for its own upheaval, including the naming of the next head of the Federal Reserve and a decision from the world’s biggest central banks on interest rates.

President Donald Trump is expected to announce his choice for the next chair of the Federal Reserve by the end of the week.

Obama appointee Janet Yellen took the reins of the Fed from Ben Bernanke in 2014, helping to shape the economy’s recovery from the Great Recession and achieve new records in the stock market.

Though Yellen’s term ends February, she is said to be one of Trump’s finalists.

Low interest rates have led to surges in bond funds, stocks and other investments. If the new chair is more aggressive than Yellen was on raising interest rates, the markets could see volatility.

The Federal Reserve will end a two-day meeting on Wednesday, but little news from the central bank is expected. The Bank of Japan and the Bank of England are meeting this week as well.

Meantime Friday, the government will give its monthly update on how many jobs the economy created.

Economists say signs of a strengthening economy could embolden the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, something predicted to occur in December.

Led by increases in auto sales, consumer spending in the United States reached its strongest level since the summer of 2009 last month.

A 0.4 percent rise in incomes from the prior month was in line with predictions.

Another hotly anticipated report this week is expected to come from Apple on Thursday.

Tech stocks have been delivering some of the most consistent growth in a time of strong earnings growth that have been driving the stock market higher.

Nintendo meanwhile reported a 35 percent surge in net profit in April-September from a year earlier.

The Kyoto, Japan-based video-game maker attributed the boost to the popularity of its Switch hybrid game machine and new releases.

The company made $456 million (51.5 billion yen) net profit in the fiscal first half-year, compared with a net profit of 38.3 billion yen in the same period a year earlier.

For the full fiscal year, the company raised its forecast from an earlier outlook of 45 billion yen by 89 percent to 85 billion yen.

Nintendo sales rose 173 percent from a year earlier in April-September to $3.3 billion.

Known for its ownership of Super Mario and Pokemon games, Nintendo released “Switch Splatoon 2” in July. The game has sold well both in Japan and overseas. “Super Mario Odyssey” launched for the Switch platform last week.

The 3DS portable console is another Nintendo offering, and the company has done well marketing games for smartphones and other devices.

Some well-performing titles on smart devices include “Super Mario Run” and “Fire Emblem Heroes.”

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was virtually flat, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.4 percent.

European stock markets were modestly higher, with the French CAC 40 up 0.1 percent and Germany’s DAX up 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 in London dipped 0.2 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 dipped by 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,577, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. Losses for health care stocks helped offset gains for energy and technology companies. The index closed at a record on Friday after climbing for seven straight weeks, its longest such streak since 2014.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 30 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,404, and the Nasdaq composite rose 10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,712.

AP writers STAN CHOE and JOE MCDONALD contributed to this report.

%d bloggers like this: