US stocks drifted lower after the Federal Reserve meeting minutes indicated officials have not agreed on a plan for when and how fast to increase interest rates.
Most on the Fed said that a premature rate increase would harm recovery, while several thought that a later move could risk high inflation.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.2% or 40 points to 18,008. Stocks pared loses briefly in the wake of a release of Fed minutes
The S&P 500 dropped 0.2% or four points to 2,097 while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped one point to 4,899.
The minutes of the meeting, held from January 27 to 28, showed Fed officials discusses the pros and cons of delaying versus moving quickly on interest rates alongside how to remove from their policy statement an assurance that they would be patient before raising interest rates.
Sean Lynch, co-head of global equity strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute said, “Officials are more inclined to keep rates lower for longer. That’s still a pretty good backdrop for stocks.”
Anthony Valeri, investment strategist at LPL Financial said that markets over the last couple weeks have been a little cautious, pricing in a rate hike in June.
He was quoted by Market Watch as having said, “Markets initially welcomed news that lower rates will stay for longer. Companies love easy money. The Fed has done a good job at managing market expectations and when Janet Yellen speaks in front of the Congress, we will get more clarity about the timing of the first rate hike.”
European markets rose as investors continued eyeing developments between Greece and its creditors. The CAC 40 of France added 0.9% and the DAX of Germany climbed 0.6%, closing below its all-time high.
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