U.S. stocks edged lower on Wednesday as minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting gave investors few new clues as to when U.S. interest rates may rise. The S&P 500 snapped a four-day run of gains and a two-day streak of record closing highs.
Minutes of the U.S. central bank’s Oct. 28-29 meeting, where policymakers decided to finally end their bond-buying stimulus, indicated a debate among policymakers over the outlook for inflation and the economy. “The market doesn’t really know how to react to this, whether it’s a hawkish or dovish statement, but the reality is I think it’s a truthful statement that we are in a very interesting spot with both headwinds and tailwinds facing this economy,” said Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL Financial in Boston.
Following the release of the minutes, U.S. short-term interest-rate futures traders were still betting on a first Fed rate hike by September next year. Tech names were among the biggest drags on the market, with the Nasdaq underperforming both the Dow and S&P 500. Shares of Microsoft fell 1.1 percent to $48.22 and shares of Qualcomm eased 2.1 percent to $70.47. Qualcomm on Wednesday gave a more conservative five-year outlook than in the past.
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