US stocks close higher after Fed minutes release

New York: US stocks closed higher after the summary of Federal Reserve’s meeting held in December showed the central bank is patient on rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday increased 91.67 points, or 0.39 percent, to 23,879.12. The S&P 500 was up 10.55 points, or 0.41 percent, to 2,584.96, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 60.08 points, or 0.87 percent, to 6,957.08.

Fed officials acknowledged that the policy path ahead is “less clear” after approving an interest rate hike at their recent meeting.

The minutes showed the rate hike came with reluctance from a few members who thought the lack of inflationary pressures argued against another increase.

The minutes came after Fed chair Jerome Powell hinted at slower monetary tightening.

He said Fed officials were keeping a close eye on the voices of the financial market, and that Fed policy was flexible and clung to real-time economic developments.

He added that the central bank would not hesitate to adjust its balance sheet reduction plan if it causes problems in the markets.

All three major indexes surged more than 3 percent on Friday on Powell’s comments and posted 4-day winning streak on Wednesday at the close.

Also lifting the market sentiment was the news that the latest trade negotiations between the world’s top two economies showed signs of progress.