U.S. markets were choppy throughout Thursday's session before heading slightly south after the Fed left interest rates unchanged, as expected.

However, the central bank said in a statement it expects further gradual increases in the overnight rate.

The mostly lower finish snapped 3 sessions of gains with near-term support holding.

Volatility was rather calm throughout the session and held resistance on the mixed finish.

The Nasdaq gave back 0.5% after trading in negative territory throughout the session while bottoming at 7,499.

Upper support at 7,500-7,450 was breached but held along with the 200-day moving average.

The Russell 2000 was down 0.3% following the backtest to 1,573. Fresh support at 1,575-1,570 held with a close below 1,560 signaling a possible near-term top.

The S&P 500 traded in a 20-point range but mostly in the red after dipping 0.3% and tapping a low of 2,794.

Upper support at 2,800-2,775 was breached but held into the closing bell.

The Dow edged up 0.04% after testing a midday high of 26,277. Fresh and lower resistance at 26,200-26,350 was cleared but failed to hold.

Financials and Real Estate showed the most sector strength after rising 0.3% and 0.2%.

Energy and Communication Services were the weakest sectors after sinking 2.2% and 0.9%, respectively. Materials were off 0.4%.

Global Economy - European markets settled mixed after the European Commission stated that growth in the euro zone will stall in the coming years.

UK's FTSE 100 was up 0.3% and the Stoxx 600 Europe advanced 0.2%. Germany's DAX 30 declined 0.5% and the Belgium20 was lower by 0.3%. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1%.

The German September trade balance was in surplus 18.4 billion euros, below expectations of 20 billion euros.

September exports fell 0.8%, missing forecasts for a gain of 0.4%. September imports fell 0.4%, missing estimates for a rise of 0.8%.

Asian markets settled mostly to the upside despite mixed economic news.

Japan's Nikkei jumped 1.8% and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.6%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.3%. China's Shanghai slipped 0.2%.

The China October trade balance was in surplus by $34.01 billion, below expectations of $35.15 billion.

October exports rose 15.6% year-over-year, topping estimates of 11.7% while imports rose 21.4%, topping forecasts of 14.5%.

Japan September core machine orders plunged by a record 18.3%, weaker than expectations for a drop of 9%.

Jobless Claims dipped 1,000 to 214,000 in the first week of November.

The 4-week moving average edged lower to 213,750. Continuing claims fell 8,000 to 1,623,000 in the week ending October 27th.

Market Sentiment - As expected, the Fed kept its benchmark target for rates unchanged in a 2%-2.25% range.

The central bankers left the core of its prior, upbeat, policy statement unchanged.

The Committee expects further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate after saying in the statement jobs gains are strong and economic activity rising at a strong rate.

The statement said the risks to the economic outlook "appear roughly balanced" and that inflation remains near its 2% target.

The only tweak was to note that the growth of business investment had moderated in the third quarter.

Looking ahead, Wall Street sees a roughly 80% chance of a December quarter-point move.

The market is taking its cue from the September dot plot which showed a strong majority of Fed officials had forecast the fed funds rate would be a quarter point higher by year end.

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) traded in a tight range after testing an opening high of $112.97.

Resistance at $112.75-$113.25 was split but held for a 2nd-straight session.

Near-term support is at $112.

A move below this level would be a bearish signal for a backtest towards $111.50-$110 and fresh 52-week lows.

Market Analysis - The Spider S&P 500 ETF (SPY) had its 3-session win streak snapped despite trading to a high of $281.22. Near-term resistance at $282-$282.50 held with continued closes above the latter being a very bullish signal.

Fresh support is at $279-$278.50 following the pullback to $279.22 late in the day.

A move below $277.50 would signal a near-term top and be a slightly bearish development.

RSI had been in an uptrend before leveling out with resistance at 60.

A move above the this level would signal additional strength towards 65-70. Support is at 55-50.

The Consumer Discretionary Select Spiders (XLY) extended its win streak to 8-straight sessions after making a run to $112.15.

Fresh resistance at $112-$112.50 and the 50-day moving average was challenged but held with continued closes back above $113 being a more bullish development.

Rising support is at $110.50-$110 with a move below $109 signaling a possible short-term top.

RSI has been in a strong uptrend with resistance at 60.

Continued closes above this level would signal additional strength towards 65-70 and August highs. Current support is at 55-50.

All the best,
Roger Scott.