FOMC meeting minutes signal growing concern over persistently weak inflation.
U.S. stocks held higher on Wednesday after the minutes of last month’s FOMC meeting showed tepid support for a rate hike.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) advanced 0.2% to 2,555.24, a new all-time high. The majority of the sectors tracked by the index finished higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) climbed 0.2% to 22,872.89.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) climbed 0.3% to 6,603.55.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) declined on Wednesday as markets continued to stabilize in record territory. The so-called fear index slid 2.3% to 9.85, on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic mean.
The Fed held interest rates steady last month and announced it would soon begin the long process of rebalancing its portfolio. Beginning in October, the Fed will reduce its bond holdings at a rate of $10 billion per month.
“Many participants expressed concern that the low inflation readings this year might reflect not only transitory factors, but also influence the developments that could prove more persistent,” the minutes of the September 19-20 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) showed Wednesday.
In commodities, oil prices continued to rise as strong demand forecasts propelled the market higher. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures advanced 40 cents, or 0.8%, to $51.32 a barrel. ICE Brent futures climbed 32 cents, or 0.6%, to $56.93.
The Final Word: The FOMC is not expected to raise interest rates at its next meeting in three weeks. However, a rate hike remains firmly on the table in December.