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U.S. stocks held on to slight gains Wednesday morning following news that Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer planned to step down from his key role in the U.S. central bank. Fischer, viewed as a centrist on the Fed, is expected to leave for personal reasons as early as next month. His departure potentially leaves two of the most important positions for the Fed in play, with Chairwoman Janet Yellen not expected to extend her term when it ends in coming months. The shifts occur as the central bank is normalizing interest-rate policy and gearing up to unwind its $4.5 trillion crisis-era balance sheet, both moves could have the effect of lifting borrowing costs for individuals and U.S. corporations. The market reaction to the news has been muted so far. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.37% was tentatively higher up 0.3% at 21,813, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.35% was 0.2% higher at 2,462, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.29% was trading flat at 6,370. Lower borrowing costs and an era of asset-purchases in the aftermath of the 2007-’09 financial crisis has underpinned rising asset values, market participants have said. The 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +1.89% was little changed at 2.07%, holding its lowest level since November as lingering jitters over geopolitical tensions with North Korea hurt risk appetite and fueled buying in so-called haven assets. Meanwhile, a measure of the U.S. dollar DXY, -0.07% was 0.2% lower at 92.082. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index measures the buck against a basket of six currencies.
Read the full story: Stock market climbs, tries to shake off North Korea, Hurricane, geopolitical woes