Wall Street’s main indexes edged higher on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s November meeting showed interest rate hikes may slow soon.
A “substantial majority” of policymakers agreed it would “likely soon be appropriate” to slow the pace of interest rate hikes, according to the minutes.
Since the Fed’s last meeting on Nov. 1-2, investors have been more optimistic that price pressure has started to ease, signaling smaller rate hikes could curtail inflation.
“What equity markets needed to see for the recent strength to continue was what we got from the minutes,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
At 2:19 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 100.48 points, or 0.29%, to 34,198.58; the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 21.14 points, or 0.53%, to 4,024.72; and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 103.99 points, or 0.93%, at 11,278.39.
Trading volume was thin ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, with the U.S. stock market open for a half-session on Friday.
Earlier in the morning, a mixed bag of economic data led to a drop in yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, helping drive stocks up.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week and U.S. business activity contracted for a fifth straight month in November. Consumer sentiment ticked higher and home sales rose above expectations.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.77-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.69-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 112 new lows.