New York (CNN Business)Stocks fluctuated wildly on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates by a half point to help protect the US economy against the fallout from coronavirus.
The Dow ( was up as much as 381 points and down as many as 356 points in a roller coaster first hour of trading. Stocks initially jumped higher after the rate cut, but then moved lower as investors assessed the policy action. Stocks were mixed ahead of the Fed’s 11 am ET press conference. )
The Dow was up 30 points, or 0.1% around 11 am ET. The broader S&P 500 ( was up 0.5%. The index logged its best day in more than two years Monday. )
The Nasdaq Composite ( was up 0.5%. )
“The impact on the S&P 500 is limited, showing how far aggressive pricing of rate cuts had gone,” ahead of the cut, said Sebastien Galy, senior market strategist at Nordea.
The surprise move by the Fed followed a wild rally at the start of the week in which the Dow recorded its highest point-gain in history. Markets were off to a weaker start Tuesday before the central bank stepped in.
Investors weighed the jolt the US economy could get from the Fed’s stimulus with the message the stunning rate cut sends: The US economy could be in trouble because of coronavirus.
The unscheduled rate cut — the first since the financial crisis — came as investors worried about the spread of the novel coronaviru