Wall St. little changed ahead of Fed minutes

USA stocks ended up slightly on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 hitting a record high close, after minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting showed policymakers view a rate hike coming soon.

The S&P 500 was up 0.09%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.15%, and the Nasdaq grew 0.1%.

Among the day's gainers, Intuit jumped 6.7 percent after the tax-preparation software maker posted a profit topped estimates and also raised its revenue forecast.

The minutes will be released at 2 p.m. ET (1600 GMT) and Fed funds futures show that traders now see a 75 percent chance that the US central bank will raise interest rates in June.

The view on short-term interest rates, which the minutes said was "generally" shared by the nine officials who have a vote on policy this year, casts some doubt on Wall Street bets for a hike at the June 13-14 policy meeting. The meeting minutes from the gathering earlier this month could provide hints about the next moves. In fact, RBC Capital Markets analyst Christopher Louney concedes a strong US dollar, higher rates and a robust stock market "present a significant hurtle to gold's performance outside of haven demand and the materialization of the unexpected".

The Fed has more than $4 trillion in Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities, largely accumulated as part of the effort to stimulate the economy in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession.

Nvidia Corp.(NVDA) was up 1.3% after Bloomberg reported (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-24/softbank-said-to-take-4-billion-stake-in-u-s-chipmaker-nvidia) that Japanese SoftBank Group Corp.

The euro was up 0.1 percent against the greenback at $1.1193.

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.

Bigger rival Home Depot HD.N was off 0.5 percent, weighing the most on the Dow.

And jewelry retailer Tiffany sank 8.7 percent after posting a surprise drop in comparable sales.

HP Inc rose 4.8 percent to $19.92 after the company's quarterly results beat expectations. On the Nasdaq, 1 506 issues rose and 1 107 fell.

Crude oil prices were flat on Wednesday ahead of a weekly inventory reading from the Energy Information Administration.

Oil prices were slightly lower as investors waited for news from Vienna where ministers from OPEC and other exporting countries were discussing whether to extend production cuts into the first quarter of next year.

  • Zachary Reyes