US stocks end mixed amid Fed minutes

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New York, Oct 13 (IANS) US stocks closed mixed after wavering in a tight range as investors meditated on the Federal Reserve’s minutes from its September meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday rose 15.54 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 18,144.20, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 added 2.45 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 2,139.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 7.77 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 5,239.02.

According to the minutes released in the afternoon, policy makers generally agreed that the case for an increase in the policy rate had strengthened.

“The Committee agreed that, in determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, it would assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation,” the minutes said.

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On the Fed’s September policy meeting, the US central bank kept its federal funds rate unchanged, but signaled that Fed could have one rate hike by the end of this year.

The market is largely anticipating the Fed to raise interest rates later this year. Traders have expected a more-than 69 per cent rate hike in December, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“Participants generally agreed the case for a rate hike has strengthened. Presumably this is all but one or two, like Lael Brainard, who recently said she thinks the case for preemptive hikes has diminished,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

Oil prices were also in focus, which settled about 1 per cent lower Wednesday, as a stronger US dollar made the greenback-dominated oil less attractive for holders of other currencies.

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On the economic front, the number of job openings decreased to 5.4 million on the last business day of August, the US Labor Department reported on Wednesday.



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