Fed: US stocks: Dow, S&P 500 rise as Fed says rate hikes are slowing

Wall Street’s major indexes finished with solid gains on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s November meeting indicated interest rate hikes may soon slow.

The minutes show that a “substantial majority” of policymakers agreed that slowing the pace of interest rate increases “is likely to be appropriate soon.”

“What equity markets need to see for the recent strength to continue is what we get from the minutes,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

After the Fed’s last meeting on Nov. 1-2, investors are more optimistic that price pressures are starting to ease, meaning smaller interest rate hikes could reduce inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 95.96 points, or 0.28%, to 34,194.06, the S&P 500 gained 23.68 points, or 0.59%, to 4,027.26, and the Nasdaq Composite added 110,918.2%, or 110,919. increased by 2%.

Trading volume was subdued on Thursday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, while the US stock market was open for half a session on Friday.

Earlier on Wednesday, a mixed bag of economic data sent the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down and helped stocks rise.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, and U.S. business activity contracted for the fifth straight month in November. Consumer sentiment improved and home sales beat expectations.

“I think what you’re seeing is renewed investor enthusiasm fueled by those who see that beautiful light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And there’s so much money out there that we’re going back into the markets and we’re waiting for a return to action,” said Moez Kassam, portfolio manager at Anson Funds.

Heavyweights including Amazon.com Inc and Meta Platforms Inc rose 1.00% and 0.72%, respectively.

Tesla Inc. rose 7.82% as Citigroup upgraded shares of the electric car maker to a “neutral” rating from a “sell” rating.

Deere & Co rose 5.03% after the farm equipment maker reported better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Nordstrom Inc fell 4.24% as the fashion retailer slashed its profit forecast amid steep discounts to attract inflation-wary customers.

Volume in US stocks was 9.25 billion shares over the past 20 trading days, compared to the full session average of 11.6 billion shares.

Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of 1.97 to 1; A 1.61 to 1 ratio on the Nasdaq favored the advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq Composite posted 97 new highs and 126 new lows. (Reporting by Carolina Mandl, Shreyashi Sanyal and Ankika Biswas; Editing by Richard Chang, Rosalba O’Brien and Chris Reese)