Investing.com - U.S. stocks finished Wednesday largely higher after the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July policy meeting suggested that the labor market is improving to the point that rate hikes may come sooner than later.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 rose 0.35%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.25%, while the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.02%, mainly due to profit taking.
The Volatility S&P 500 index, which measures the outlook for market volatility, was down 3.28% at 11.81.
The U.S. labor market is improving to the point that rate hikes may come sooner rather than later, the Fed minutes released earlier revealed,
"Many participants noted that if convergence toward the Committee's objectives occurred more quickly than expected, it might become appropriate to begin removing monetary policy accommodation sooner than they currently anticipated," the minutes released earlier Wednesday read.
"Indeed, some participants viewed the actual and expected progress toward the Committee's goals as sufficient to call for a relatively prompt move toward reducing policy accommodation to avoid overshooting the Committee's unemployment and inflation objectives over the medium term," the minutes added.
Stocks rose even though the document pointed to rising borrowing costs down the horizon.
The Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole symposium begins on Thursday, and many investors bet Fed Chair Janet Yellen will provide dovish words to complement the hawkish meeting minutes to convey to markets that even though rates will rise, monetary authorities will make sure they do so gradually.
Upbeat earnings from retailer Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), home improvement store Lowe's Companies Inc (NYSE:LOW) boosted stocks as well on Wednesday, one day after Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) unveiled better-than-expected results.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), up 2.86%, Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), up 1.43%, and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), up 1.17%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), down 0.85%, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD), down 0.28%, and Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), down 0.27%.
European indices, meanwhile, ended the lower.
After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.30%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.32%, while Germany's DAX fell 0.21%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 0.35%.
On Thursday, the U.S. is to produce data on unemployment claims, manufacturing activity and existing home sales.
The first day of the annual economic symposium is due to take place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
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