US Federal Reserve minutes hint at rate rise next month

The S&P financial index, which fell right after the minutes came out, rebounded to end down just 0.04%. Shares of the company were up 0.72 percent.

Seoul jumped 1.1 per cent to a fresh record after the South Korean central bank kept interest rates on hold citing an improving economy.

U.S. central bankers say it will "soon" be time to raise the key lending rate again, according to minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting released Wednesday. The officials say they want to raise rates a little more before they start selling that debt.

The Shanghai Composite fell as much as 1.3% on Wednesday, before recovering to finish 0.1% firmer. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 74.51 points, or 0.4 percent, to 21,012.42. Shares in Asia are higher after an overnight advance on Wall Street spurred by the latest meeting minutes from the Federal Re. The 2-year yield, which most reflects Fed action, slipped to 1.29 percent, and the 10-year yield was at 1.25 percent from 1.28 percent before the release of Fed minutes.

Lately, though, Fed honchos have been indicating that the balance sheet will be unwound, likely starting later this year, raising questions from investors about how the process will work and what impact it will have.

A U.S. interest rate increase in June was a "distinct possibility", the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Patrick Harker said.

PVH Corp was up 6 percent at $108.06 after the owner of Tommy Hilfiger posted a better-than-expected profit and raised its full-year forecast.

The retail sector issued more results that disappointed.

Shares of Lowe's fell 4.4 percent to $78.75 in premarket trading after the No. 2 US home improvement chain reported a lower-than-expected profit and comparable sales.

LOST ITS SHINE: Sales for jewelry retailer Tiffany weren't as good as expected in the first quarter. The two were the biggest losers on the S&P.

Federal Reserve officials indicated they may raise rates again in June, according to minutes from their meeting in May released on Wednesday. The OECD has project the US annual economic growth rate for 2017 at around 2.27% while other estimates by industry analysts puts it at an optimistic 2.5% for the year.

"Even though the Fed is reducing stimulus, I think this gives the market some comfort".

For faster growth, structural issues like the aging population would need to be addressed, he said.

Interest rate futures implied traders see about an 80-per cent chance of a quarter-point rate hike at the Fed's June meeting.

The U.S. dollar index fell to session lows after the Fed minutes.

"There is less reason for the Fed to wait until late this year before starting the process", said Paul Ashworth, chief USA economist for Capital Economics, in a note to clients.

The dollar index sank to 97.010 at 9:58 a.m HK/SIN.

The greenback fell against the euro and the yen.

First off, the Fed is close to pulling the trigger on a June rate hike, which is widely expected by market participants.

Markets in greater China opened mixed a day after Moody's downgraded the credit rating of the world's second largest economy.

US stocks are up for the fifth consecutive day Wednesday as technology and high-dividend companies move higher.

In early European trade London rose 0.2 per cent while Paris and Frankfurt each added 0.4 per cent.

Oil stocks were down following reports the Trump administration could slash United States strategic reserves, with ExxonMobil falling 0.4 per cent, Royal Dutch Shell losing 0.2 per cent and Chevron down less than 0.1 per cent. Oil prices extended gains ahead of the OPEC meeting in Vienna today.

  • Zachary Reyes