Stock Market Today: Stocks (and the Fed) Stay the Course

The FOMC's March minutes didn't give investors much else to munch on, resulting in a mostly sideways Wednesday for the major indexes.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

The market flipped between minor gains and losses throughout a fairly mundane Wednesday that the Federal Reserve failed to spice up.

This afternoon, the Fed released its minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in March, and officials expressed patience in keeping its easy monetary policy in place, believing it will be "some time" until its economic and price-stability goals are met.

"Without doubt, the March FOMC meeting minutes point to a desire to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy for the foreseeable future," says Bob Miller, BlackRock's head of Americas Fundamental Fixed Income. But he adds that "the March meeting also saw seven of 18 participants who did not think keeping the target policy range unchanged for three more years was appropriate.

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"That's now becoming too many voices to squelch. … We think this debate will unfold further as the economy (and inflation) strengthen in the coming months."

There were individual pockets of motion across today's market – larger tech-related stocks such as Twitter (TWTR (opens in new tab), +3.0%) and Nvidia (NVDA (opens in new tab), +2.0%) headed higher, as did recovery plays such as retailer L Brands (LB (opens in new tab), +3.6%) and cruise line operator Carnival (CCL (opens in new tab), +1.4%).

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But the broader indexes hardly moved. The Dow improved marginally to 33,446.26. The S&P 500 gained just 0.2% to 4,079, but that was enough to mark a new all-time high.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Nasdaq Composite was off marginally to 13,688.
  • The small-cap Russell 2000 had a much rougher go at things, dropping 1.6% to 2,223.
  • U.S. crude oil futures headed higher again, up a modest 0.4% to $59.55 per barrel.
  • Gold futures slipped a mere 0.1% to $1,741.60 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices took a tumble, falling 3.6% to $56,136. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 040721

(Image credit: YCharts)

Which Stocks Should You Watch? Here's What a Machine Had to Say.

Over the past few years, we've frequently touted the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). This technology's ability to revolutionize everything, from industrial logistics to toasting your bread, has made the companies who enable artificial intelligence, or best utilize it, into many of the market's top returners.

Several AI-focused funds have come to life as a result, and some of today's most innovative companies have AI flowing through their business.

But artificial intelligence can do more than power profitable stocks – apparently, it can pick 'em, too.

Near the start of 2021, we explored an AI-powered analytics platform and some of its selections, and, since then, those stocks have clobbered the market. Naturally, we're curious whether this "robo-picker" can continue to outperform, so we've taken a fresh (and expanded) look at this system's top stocks to watch right now. You should, too.

Kyle Woodley was long NVDA as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley
Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

Kyle is senior investing editor for Kiplinger.com. As a writer and columnist, he also specializes in exchange-traded funds. He joined Kiplinger in September 2017 after spending six years at InvestorPlace.com, where he managed the editorial staff. His work has appeared in several outlets, including U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money, he has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, and he has been quoted in MarketWatch, Vice and Univision, among other outlets. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism.