U.S. Stocks Rise to Record, Dollar Slips on Fed: Markets Wrap

  • S&P 500 completes rebound from 1.8 percent selloff last week
  • Dollar drops as officials signal inflation might slow

Fed's Harker: Three 2017 Rate Hikes 'Appropriate'

U.S. stocks climbed to fresh records, while the dollar slipped with Treasury yields as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed officials unperturbed by recent signs of economic weakness. Crude slipped.

The S&P 500 Index completed its rebound from the biggest selloff the year a week ago, as Fed officials signaled the economy remains on track. The Nasdaq 100 Index also closed at a record. The dollar slumped toward a November low and Treasuries rose as a “few” said inflation remained muted. Metals retreated after Moody’s Investors Service reduced its rating on China. Crude fell slightly after five days of gains.

The Fed statement points toward a hike as soon as the meeting in mid-June, though FOMC voters added the caveat that “it would be prudent” to wait for evidence that a recent slowdown in economic activity had been transitory. Earlier Wednesday, Fed Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said June “is a distinct possibility” for the U.S. central bank’s second interest-rate increase of 2017. 

Prior to the release of the minutes, markets were largely in a holding pattern, with U.S. equities little changed near record levels and the dollar flat. Investors quickly moved on after Moody’s action on China briefly rattled Asian markets.

Read our Markets Live blog here.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,404.28 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 21,000 to the highest since May 8.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index ended with a gain on 0.1 percent.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index added nearly 0.3 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3 percent to near the lowest since November.
  • The pound was down slightly at $1.2931 for a third straight day of losses. The euro was essentially unchanged at $1.1176.

Commodities

  • Nickel slumped 2.6 percent and copper fell 0.9 percent. Iron ore futures declined 6.5 percent. China is the top user of materials.
  • West Texas oil dropped 11 cents to settle at $51.36 a barrel, following a five-day advance. Investors shrugged off declining U.S. stockpiles as they held their breath ahead of OPEC’s meeting on Thursday.
  • Gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,251 an ounce, after dropping 0.8 percent on Tuesday.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell three basis points to 2.25 percent. Bond prices fell during the previous four days.
  • Yields on benchmark French and German benchmark bonds were little changed.
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