Stock Market Ticks Up as Investors Await Fed Minutes
U.S. stocks traded slightly higher on Wednesday, though activity was subdued ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, which could quell doubts about a June interest-rate increase.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose 30 points to 20,966, a gain of 0.1%. The S&P 500 SPX was up 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,400. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP was up 3 points to 6,152, essentially unchanged on the day.
All three indexes are near records. If the Dow and S&P extend their advance to a fifth straight session, it would mark their longest winning streak since February.
Financial market participants are pricing in an 83% probability of a rate in June, according to CME’s FedWatch tool. The Fed minutes are due at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.
Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s May 2-3 meeting “will provide the largest event risk amid a quiet data calendar,” Prashant Newnaha, rates strategist at TD Securities, said in a note.
“We look for the minutes to reinforce the relatively hawkish policy statement with references to a robust labor market and a solid growth outlook,” he said.
“We will also be on alert for any discussion of changes to the Fed’s reinvestment policy, the discussion around which has grown more prominent in recent months, and market pricing for a June rate hike,” he added.
Caution was also elevated on Wednesday after Moody’s Investors Service cut China’s foreign credit rating for the first in nearly three decades. However, stocks in China erased losses and closed slightly higher, while European stocks also shook off early weakness and traded in positive territory.
In other central bank events on Wednesday, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan will participate in a moderated discussion at the C.D. House Institute Annual dinner in Toronto, Canada at 6 p.m. Eastern.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari participates in a town hall discussion in Ashland, Wis., at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
In the latest economic data, existing home sales fell 2.3% in April, coming in below expectations as lean inventory constrained demand.
Stock movers: Shares of Bunge Ltd. BG was flat following a 17% rally on Tuesday after news that commodities giant Glencore PLC GLEN, GLCNF, 0805, had approached the grain trader about a potential takeover.
Nvidia Corp. NVDA was up 1.9% after Bloomberg reported that Japanese SoftBank Group Corp. 9984 had amassed a $4 billion stake in the chip maker.
Intuit Inc. INTU soared 6.8% to a record a day after it reported strong quarterly results.
Shares of Lowe’s Cos. LOW slid 4.2% after the home-improvement retailer posted quarterly sales and adjusted earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts.
Tiffany & Co. TIF reported profit ahead of expectations, but same-store sales unexpectedly fell, sending shares down 6%.
Earnings from Advance Auto Parts Inc. AAP missed forecasts by a wide mark. Shares fell 5.1%.
Container Store Group Inc. TCS soared 32% after its earnings out late Tuesday showed profits doubled in the fourth fiscal quarter.
Other markets: Oil prices CLN7, were little changed as traders await a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers on Thursday that’s expected to produce an agreement to extend output cuts.
Metals prices were mostly lower, with gold GCM7 off 0.2%.
The ICE dollar index DXY was down less than 0.1% at 97.31.