US Treasuries rose while Wall Street fluctuated, paring earlier losses, after minutes from the July Federal Reserve meeting showed US policy makers might be less in a rush to raise interest rates than thought.
On Tuesday, New York Fed President William Dudley said "it's possible" the central might hike rates as early as next month. However, the minutes from the July meeting, released on Wednesday, seemed to pour cold water on the idea of a September rate hike.
"Several suggested that the committee would likely have ample time to react if inflation rose more quickly than they currently anticipated, and they preferred to defer another increase in the federal funds rate until they were more confident that inflation was moving closer to 2 per cent on a sustained basis," according to the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's July 26-27 meeting.
"However, some other participants viewed recent economic developments as indicating that labour market conditions were at or close to those consistent with maximum employment and expected that the recent progress in reaching the committee's inflation objective would continue, even with further steps to gradually remove monetary policy accommodation," the minutes noted.
Wall Street recovered. In 3.06pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.02 per cent gain. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.07 per cent. In 2.50pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched 0.08 per cent higher.
Bonds rose, pushing yields on the 10-year note two basis points lower to 1.55 per cent, according to Bloomberg.
"These notes really show that they're giving the same amount of ammunition to the hawks and the doves," Mark Heppenstall, the Horsham, Pennsylvania-based chief investment officer of Penn Mutual Asset Management.
"We still have a lot of economic numbers to be released between now and December, so if I had to guess, I would say that the earliest we see a hike would be early 2017."
I don't think anything in these minutes supports a quicker rate increase and again, I think that they're data dependent still.
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In the Dow, gains in shares of Pfizer and those of DuPont, up 0.8 per cent each respectively, offset slides in shares of Cisco and those of Intel, down 1.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.
"I don't think anything in these minutes supports a quicker rate increase and again, I think that they're data dependent still," Chris Gaffney, president of Everbank World Markets in St Louis, told Reuters.
Weighing on sentiment were disappointing results from Target, down 6.1 per cent as of 3.16pm in New York, as well as from Lowe's, down 5.5 per cent.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.8 per cent slide from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 index slid 0.5 per cent, France's CAC 40 index retreated 1 percent, while Germany's DAX index fell 1.3 per cent.