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Stocks retreat following latest interest rate hike

Major indices are trading lower Thursday morning after Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve to lift interest rates. The Fed stated that it would increase its benchmark federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a range between 1% and 1.25%. In addition to the latest increase, it stated that it could boost rates one more time by the end of the year as long as overall economic conditions remain in-line with current forecasts. Grocer chain Kroger (KR) is off sharply in early morning trading following the company’s first-quarter report. While the company was able to post better than expected profit and sales for the quarter, it slashed its full-year guidance. The company now expects full year EPS in a range of $2.00 to $2.05, down from its previous forecast range of $2.21 to $2.25. Wall Street has reacted, driving shares of the stock down 13.1% to $26.46, down $3.82.

West Texas Intermediate crude is trading down $0.14 a barrel at $44.59. At present, the S&P 500 is down 0.50%, the DJIA is down 0.20%, and the NASDAQ is down 0.88%.

Here are your Thursday morning market metrics. Industries doing well today include utilities and telecomm services. Industries showing weakness include consumer discretionary, consumer staples, and energy. The VIX is up 9.2% to 11.62 after closing on Tuesday at 10.64. The most heavily traded options this morning are for the S&P 500 SPDR ETF (SPY), with 48,395 July 241 puts on the board. The total put/call ratio as of 10:00 AM was 0.92 (322,152/350,514). The advancers/decliners ratio for the NYSE is 879/1,980 and for the NASDAQ, 920/1,766.

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Michael Fowlkes

Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va.