U.S. stocks inch higher as investors await Fed meeting minutes

By Liz Moyer

Investing.com -- U.S. stocks were rising on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting minutes, which could provide clues about where it will take interest rates next.

At 10:34 ET (15:34 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 101 points or 0.3%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.6% and the Nasdaq was up 1%.

In recent days, Fed officials have made public statements that send mixed messages about the path of rate increases as the central bank tries to tame inflation. Many expect the Fed will raise rates by a half-percentage point, which would be smaller than the 0.75 percentage point increases it has made at each of its last four meetings.

New jobless claims for the last week came in slightly higher than expected, at 240,000 versus the forecast for 225,000. But durable goods orders for last month rose 1%, which is better than the expected 0.5%.

Retail earnings have also been a mixed bag. The electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) offered a positive holiday sales forecast, while the upscale department store Nordstrom Inc (NYSE:JWN) cut its profit forecast because of merchandise discounts. Shares of Best Buy were up 1.1%, while Nordstrom was down 6.6%.

Agricultural equipment maker Deere&Company (NYSE:DE) shares rose 6.8% as the farm equipment maker reported a 75% jump in quarterly profit.

Oil fell. Crude Oil WTI Futures was down 4.8% to $77.08 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures crude fell 4.5% to $84.37 a barrel. Gold Futures rose 0.1% to $1741.

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