S&P 500 edges lower after Fed minutes

by Jul 12, 2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting showed policymakers are open to the idea of providing more economic stimulus but that conditions might need to worsen for a consensus to build.

At its meeting in June, the Fed announced that it would buy an additional $267 billion in long-term bonds with proceeds from short-term notes but it didn't embark on another round of quantitative easing to stimulate the economy.

"The Fed is clearly worried and is now having an in-depth conversation about another round of QE. It is obvious that a strategy is being formed. The only question is whether we'll see another shock and awe round of bond buying," said Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at the BlackBay Group in New York.

The S&P 500 reversed a slight gain to trade slightly lower after the minutes were released on Wednesday afternoon. The Nasdaq composite index fell 1 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 95.97 points, or 0.76 percent, at 12,557.15. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 5.08 points, or 0.38 percent, at 1,336.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 28.69 points, or 0.99 percent, at 2,873.64.

Among S&P sectors, technolgy was the biggest loser. Shares of Microsoft (MSFT.O) were down 1.9 percent at $29.19.

(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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