US stocks wavered between small gains and losses in choppy trading as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the highly anticipated minutes of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting.
The minutes are expected to give an indication on the timing of the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening. Most investors are hoping that the minutes will confirm that a June hike is off the table. The release of the minutes is slated for later today.
“I can’t see them raising rates because that would strengthen the dollar further,” Randy Bateman, the chief investment officer of Huntington Asset Advisors, which manages about $2 billion in the funds, told Bloomberg.
“We had such a weak first quarter. We still have that strong dollar to contend with.”
The S&P 500 Index slipped 1.29 points or 0.06% to 2,127.42 points in morning trading in New York to snap a three day streak of all time high closes on Tuesday.
The volume traded was generally low with Monday recording the second lowest volume this year. Analysts attributed the muted action in the markets to a slowdown in the stream of companies reporting their first quarter earnings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was most recently flat 18,039.27 after marginally edging up immediately after the bell. The blue chip index record two straight records closes on Monday and Tuesday and hit an intraday record on Tuesday.
The technology heavy Nasdaq Composite traded flat at 5069.
“It is not uncommon for markets to get quiet ahead of major Fed announcements,” Randy Frederick, Managing Director of Trading and Derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, told Market Watch.
“But Janet Yellen has been bullish for the markets. In 22 days when she had some kind of announcement, market rose 73% of the time. So, there is a good chance Fed minutes will be positive for the market,” Frederick said.
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