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By William Watts, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica
S&P, Dow industrials could post longest win streak since February
U.S. stocks clung to small gains Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed broad agreement on plans to begin shrinking the central bank’s balance sheet and also pointed to a likely rate increase next month.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 43 points, or 0.2%, at 20,981. The S&P 500 was up 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,400. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10 points to 6,149, a gain of 0.2%.
The minutes of the early May meeting showed that members were in wide agreement (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-minutes-show-broad-agreement-on-approach-to-start-shrinking-balance-sheet-2017-05-24-1491015) on a general approach to unwinding the massive balance sheet built up over the course of the asset-buying spree that was at the center of the Fed’s quantitative easing strategy. The minutes also showed most Fed officials agreed it would “soon” be time to raise rates again.
Read:Seeing another rate hike ‘soon,’ Fed outlines plan to reduce bondholdings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/seeing-another-rate-hike-soon-fed-outlines-plan-to-reduce-bond-holdings-minutes-show-2017-05-24)
All three indexes are near records. If the Dow and S&P extend their advance to a fifth straight session, it would mark their longest winning streak since February.
Read:Fed minutes may quell doubt about a June interest-rate hike (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-minutes-may-quell-fresh-doubts-about-a-june-rate-hike-2017-05-19)
Caution was also elevated on Wednesday after Moody’s Investors Service cut China’s foreign credit rating for the first in nearly three decades (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/moodys-downgrades-china-rating-for-the-first-time-in-nearly-30-years-2017-05-24). However, stocks in China erased losses and closed slightly higher, while European stocks also shook off early weakness and traded in positive territory.
In other central bank events on Wednesday, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan will participate in a moderated discussion at the C.D. House Institute Annual dinner in Toronto, Canada at 6 p.m. Eastern.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari participates in a town hall discussion in Ashland, Wis., at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
In the latest economic data, existing home sales fell 2.3% in April, coming in below expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/existing-home-sales-stall-in-april-as-tight-supply-pushes-properties-to-record-low-time-on-the-market-2017-05-24) as lean inventory constrained demand.
Stock movers: Shares of Bunge Ltd.(BG) rose 1.1%, extending a 17% rally on Tuesday that came on news that commodities giant Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) (GLEN.LN) had approached the grain trader about a potential takeover (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/glencore-makes-takeover-approach-to-bunge-2017-05-24).
Nvidia Corp.(NVDA) was up 1.3% after Bloomberg reported (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-24/softbank-said-to-take-4-billion-stake-in-u-s-chipmaker-nvidia) that Japanese SoftBank Group Corp. (9984.TO) had amassed a $4 billion stake in the chip maker.
Intuit Inc.(INTU) soared 7.4% to a record a day after it reported strong quarterly results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/intuit-finds-tax-season-success-from-uber-drivers-and-taskrabbits-2017-05-23).
Shares of Lowe’s Cos.(LOW) slid 3.1% after the home-improvement retailer posted quarterly sales and adjusted earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lowes-quarterly-earnings-sales-miss-expectations-shares-slide-premarket-2017-05-24).
Tiffany & Co. (TIF) reported profit ahead of expectations, but same-store sales unexpectedly fell, sending shares down 8%.
Earnings from Advance Auto Parts Inc.(AAP) missed forecasts by a wide mark. Shares fell 4.3%.
Container Store Group Inc.(TCS) soared 26.5% after its earnings out late Tuesday showed profits doubled in the fourth fiscal quarter.
Other markets: Oil prices declined (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-continues-to-gain-ahead-of-opec-meeting-2017-05-24-11035054) as traders await a meeting of (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-continues-to-gain-ahead-of-opec-meeting-2017-05-24-11035054)the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers on Thursday that’s expected to produce an agreement to extend output cuts.
See:4 potential outcomes for OPEC’s crucial meeting (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-potential-outcomes-for-opecs-crucial-meeting-2017-05-19)
Metals prices ended mostly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-prices-drift-south-as-us-rate-hike-expectations-rise-2017-05-24), with gold off 0.4%.
The ICE dollar index fell 0.3%.
–Sara Sjolin contributed to this article.
-Ryan Vlastelica; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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