After uncertain trading earlier in the session, the major U.S. equity averages accumulated solid gains on Wednesday. Stocks were helped by the release of minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which showed that policymakers would concentrate on inflation in the near term, while allowing themselves room for flexibility later in the year.
The Nasdaq led the advance, climbing 170.29 points to close at 11,434.74. The S&P 500 recorded a gain of 37.25 points, finishing the day at 3,978.73. The Dow Jones rose 191.66 points to end at 32,120.28.
Nine of 11 S&P sectors finished higher. The Consumer Discretionary segment led the gains, climbing by 2.8%. Health Care and Utilities posted fractional losses.
In its minutes, the Fed revealed that its members were “highly attentive to inflation risks,” with most policymakers seeing “50 basis point increases in the target range would likely be appropriate at the next couple of meetings.”
Looking at the bond market, the 10-year Treasury yield slipped two basis points 2.74%, while the 2-year dipped two basis points to 2.50%.
On the economic front, April durable goods data came in lower than expected as durable goods were +0.4%, vs.+0.6% and +0.6% prior (revised from +0.8%). Moreover, core durable goods came in at +0.3% vs. the forecasted +0.6%.
“The April durable goods data suggest demand remains broadly intact in the factory sector,” Wells Fargo said. “Orders continued to roll in at a decent clip and capital goods shipments point to a decent start to the second quarter for equipment spending. Recent regional Fed manufacturing surveys signal weaker activity, but we are not convinced that a cooling in demand is imminent.”
Among active stocks, Intuit ranked among the biggest gainers in the S&P after a boost in guidance.