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21-Feb2019

US markets end higher after Fed releases minutes

The US markets ended higher on Wednesday after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which provided further insight into the central bank's decision to change the forward guidance language and indicate a patient approach to raising interest rates. The minutes described the Fed's discussions regarding changing the language in its statement from referencing further gradual increases in rates to a sentence indicating patience. Meeting participants pointed to a variety of considerations that supported a patient approach to monetary policy as an appropriate step in managing various risks and uncertainties in the outlook. The Fed said additional data would help policymakers gauge the trajectory of business and consumer sentiment, whether the recent softness in core and total inflation and inflation compensation would persist, and the effect of the tightening of financial conditions on aggregate demand.

The Fed said that information arriving in coming months could also shed light on the economic impact of the prolonged government shutdown as well as the results of budget negotiations occurring in the wake of the shutdown, including the possible implications for the path of fiscal policy. The minutes of the January meeting also showed officials discussed a plan to end the reduction of bonds on the Fed's balance sheet before the end of 2019. Stocks found some support after President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that there was nothing magical about a March 1 deadline for US-China negotiations, which was taken as a sign that tariffs on imports of Chinese goods might not automatically be raised to 25% from 10% after that date if a formal deal has not been completed.

Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 63.12 points or 0.24 percent to 25954.44, Nasdaq added 2.30 points or 0.03 percent to 7489.07 and S&P 500 was up by 4.94 points or 0.18 percent to 2784.70.



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