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Stock indexes hold steady on Wall Street

Traders Richard Newman, left, Robert Arciero, center, and

Traders Richard Newman, left, Robert Arciero, center, and John Panin, right, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, March 7, 2017.  Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks held steady Monday, ahead of a possible decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this week.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed at 2,373.47, up just 0.87 points, just 0.04 percent. It remains within 1 percent of its record, which was set earlier this month.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 21.50 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,881.48. The Nasdaq rose 14.06 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,875.78. Three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

In this hectic week, one event still stands out from the rest: the Federal Reserve’s meeting on interest rates, which begins Tuesday and ends Wednesday. Most investors expect the Fed to raise rates for only the third time since they went to nearly zero during the financial crisis in 2008.

Usually, rising interest rates are bad news for stocks because they make borrowing more expensive and can be a drag on economic growth. But many analysts say this time may be different. As long as the pace is gradual, these increases will only be getting rates back to normal rather than slamming the brakes on the economy.

The government will offer updates this week on inflation, and report on retail sales.

And the U.K. government could formally begin the process of exiting the European Union.


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