New York - US stocks rebounded on Wednesday after a broad selloff in the prior session, ahead of the release of minutes from the most recent meeting of the US Federal Reserve.
The Fed will release the minutes from its late-April meeting at 2:00 p.m. (20:00 SA time), when the central bank looked past a dismal reading on first-quarter US growth and gave a mostly upbeat assessment of the economy's prospects as it announced another cut in its massive bond-buying stimulus.
“I suspect they are going to continue this low interest rate environment, very accommodative monetary policy, for a very long period of time in an effort to help markets feel a little bit calmer as it relates to a hike in interest rates,” said Joseph Tanious, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.
The gains put the S&P 500 on track for its third advance in the past four days.
Equities have been uneven recently, however, and the benchmark S&P index is down about 1 percent from its record intraday high reached on May 13.
“Markets are still struggling to find some meaningful direction this year; so far we have seen quite a bit of choppiness in the markets - that, in and of itself, leads investors to be very nervous,” said Tanious.
New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said on Tuesday inflation should “drift upwards” towards the Fed's 2 percent goal, but a swift climb in inflation was unlikely.
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said the $2.5 trillion in reserves accumulated by banks could trigger more rapid inflation.
Lowe's Companies slipped 0.5 percent to $45.27 after the world's second-largest home improvement chain said sales picked up in May and it would maintain its full-year sales growth forecast, even as it reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 124.05 points, or 0.76 percent, to 16,498.36, the S&P 500 gained 10.57 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1,883.4 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.17 points, or 0.59 percent, to 4,121.06.
Tiffany & Co jumped 9.9 percent to $97 as the best performer on the S&P 500 after the jewellry retailer reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results and raised its full-year profit forecast.
Target Corp reported a 16 percent drop in quarterly profit but showed signs of progress in its efforts to rebuild customer confidence in the wake of a massive theft of payment card data in the United States and a botched expansion into Canada.
Shares edged up 0.4 percent to $56.83.
With earnings season nearly completed, Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday showed that of 478 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 68.2 percent topped expectations, above the 63 percent average since 1994 and a 66 percent beat rate for the past four quarters. - Reuters