US stocks rise after Fed minutes show most policy makers are in favor of easing up on rate hikes

US stocks rise after Fed minutes show most policy makers are in favor of easing up on rate hikes
Traders work on the floor of New York Stock Exchange.Reuters
  • US stocks rose Wednesday following the release of minutes from the Fed's meeting in November.
  • Most policymakers consider it appropriate to ease back the size of rate hikes, the minutes said.

US stocks overcame earlier losses to finish higher Wednesday, as minutes from the Federal Reserve's meeting this month indicated policymakers are prepared to cut the size of rate hikes aimed at chopping down inflation.

Wall Street's major indexes landed a second consecutive day of gains. The S&P 500 stretched further into the 4,000 level after closing above that mark on Tuesday for the first time since September. Nine of the index's 11 sectors gained ground, led by the consumer discretionary group.

A "substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate," minutes of this month's Fed meeting released Wednesday afternoon said. The central bank has pushed up the fed funds rate by 75 basis points at four straight meetings.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. closing bell on Wednesday:

Fed speakers have been telegraphing since the November meeting they are heading toward easing the pace of its aggressive campaign, and a rate increase of 50 basis points may be in store for December, Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial, wrote in a note.


"It doesn't mean that the Fed reaches its terminal rate in December – rather it could be a lower-for-longer path as the Fed assesses the lagged effect of the cumulative rates on the broader economy. While this doesn't represent the 'pivot' that the market has on its holiday wish list, it does represent an important transition in monetary policy," she said.

Stocks were mixed earlier Wednesday after the Labor Department said weekly jobless claims rose by 17,000 to 240,000. That was more than expected and marked the highest number of claims since August.

Among individual stocks, Deere shares climbed after the heavy equipment maker boosted its 2023 profit outlook to $8 billion to $8.5 billion. Nordstrom shares fell after the upscale retailer cut its 2022 per-share earnings outlook to a range of $2.13 to $2.43. Credit Suisse's US-listed shares fell after the bank under restructuring warned of a fourth-quarter loss of up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion).

Equity trading will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving Day and end early on Friday, at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Here's what else is happening today:


In commodities, bonds, and crypto: