Wall Street mostly edges up in volatile trade after Fed minutes
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S.
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were mostly higher in volatile late-afternoon trade on Wednesday as the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes from its January meeting showed policymakers thought pausing on U.S. interest rate hikes last month posed little risk.
The minutes also showed many participants were not yet clear what adjustments to rates might be needed later this year.
"The minutes largely echoed the Fed's cautious statement from its last meeting," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington. "I get the sense that rates are on hold until later this year. ... But the Fed stopped well short of closing the door to a rate hike later this year if the downside growth risks subside."
The U.S. central bank surprised markets last month by suspending a three-year campaign to raise rates, saying it would be patient about making any adjustments to its target range for short-term interest rates, now at between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent.
A dovish Fed and progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations have helped the S&P 500 rise about 18 percent from its lows in December, when the market swooned on fears of an economic slowdown. The index is trading about 5 percent below the record closing high it hit in late September.
The S&P materials index rose 1.9 percent, leading percentage gains among the major 11 S&P sectors, boosted by CF Industries Holdings Inc, Mosaic Co and FreeportMcMoran.
Investors also took in more news on the trade front, with President Donald Trump on Wednesday saying the United States would impose tariffs on European car imports if it cannot reach a trade deal with the European Union.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.96 points, or 0.21 percent, to 25,945.28, the S&P 500 gained 4.12 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,783.88 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.26 points, or 0.06 percent, to 7,482.51.
On Tuesday, Trump said trade discussions with China were going well and suggested he was open to extending the deadline to complete the negotiations, saying March 1 was not a "magical" date.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.93-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.43-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 38 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 96 new highs and 15 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Richard Leong in New York; editing by James Dalgleish and Jonathan Oatis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.