By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street stocks rose on Wednesday as the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting merely confirmed expectations that interest rates would rise, while the euro gained on the dollar after Catalonia held off on moving to independence.
Currency investors pushed the dollar to a two-week low against a basket of currencies, as they also eyed signs of inflation concerns at the Fed.
The Fed minutes showed policymakers in a prolonged debate about the prospects of a pickup in inflation and the path of future interest rate rises if inflation did not rise.
“Nothing changes the opinion that the Fed is likely to hike rates after the December meeting,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.34 percent. The euro
up 0.09 percent56.6651.02rose 0.2 percent to Wall Street’s three major stock indexes posted record closing highs following a late pick-up in trading after Politico reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was pushing President Donald Trump to name Jerome Powell as the next Fed chair, to succeed Janet Yellen, whose term expires in February. Powell is seen as a safe pick for financial markets.
A rise in defensive sectors such as utilities was partly offset by declines in cyclicals such as financials a day before U.S. banks’ quarterly reporting season kicks off.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 42.21 points, or 0.18 percent, to 22,872.89, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 4.6 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,555.24, and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 16.30 points, or 0.25 percent, to 6,603.55.
U.S. Treasuries were little changed after the Fed minutes and after the Treasury Department saw solid demand for three-year and 10-year note supply.
Nothing stood out in the minutes, said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale in New York.
“We go back to focusing on inflation, that’s really where we need more clarity to get a sense of where things are headed for the rest of the year,” Rajappa said.
Benchmark 10-year notes
The 30-year bond
The euro reached a roughly two-week high after Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, declined to make a formal independence declaration on Tuesday to allow for talks with Madrid. That disappointed many pro-independence supporters but pleased financial markets.
A 1.3 percent jump in Spain’s IBEX <.IBEX> more than reversed the previous session’s fall while the broader equities market had a lackluster performance.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> lost 0.01 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.18 percent.
Oil prices were virtually unchanged on Wednesday as Saudi Arabia said it pumped more in September than in August, even as OPEC forecast higher demand for 2018.
Gold prices were barely up after declining in the previous session. Spot gold
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Karen Brettell and Richard Leong in New York, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru, Marc Jones, Abhinav Ramnarayan in London; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler)