Wall Street inched higher, while the US dollar fell as minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed an increased concern about tame inflation, prompting questions whether the central bank will increase rates again this year.
"Participants discussed the softness in inflation in recent months," according to the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's July meeting, released on Wednesday.
"Most participants indicated that they expected inflation to pick up over the next couple of years from its current low level and to stabilise around the committee's 2 percent objective over the medium term," the minutes showed.
"Many participants, however, saw some likelihood that inflation might remain below 2 percent for longer than they currently expected, and several indicated that the risks to the inflation outlook could be tilted to the downside," the minutes noted.
The minutes did not offer a starting date for the unwinding of the Fed's balance sheet.
"Al¬though several participants were prepared to announce a starting date for the program at the current meeting, most preferred to defer that decision until an upcoming meeting while accumulating additional information on the economic outlook and developments potentially affecting financial markets," according to the minutes.
In 3.24pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.15 per cent, wile the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.17 per cent. In 3.09pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased 0.11 per cent.
"In spite of the recent rebound, we still remain below the levels we were sitting at a week ago, which suggests that a certain degree of caution still remains," Michael Hewson, market analyst at CMC Markets in London, wrote in a note, Bloomberg reported.
Indeed, US Treasuries rose, pushing yields on the 10-year note five basis points lower to 2.22 per cent.
Also adding to caution was US President Donald Trump's decision to disband two business councils as a flurry of corporate executives resigned from them in protest of Trump's stunning unwillingness to denounce white hate groups following deadly violence in Virginia over the weekend.
"That throws a little bit more doubt into the president's abilities to push his policies through," David Schiegoleit, managing director of investments at US Bank Private Wealth Management in Newport Beach, California, told Reuters.
In the Dow, gains in shares of United Technologies and those of Home Depot, recently up 2.3 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Goldman Sachs and those of Intel, recently down 1 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.
Wall Street's fear gauge-the CBOE Volatility Index or the VIX-declined 3.8 per cent to 11.58.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a 0.7 per cent increase from the previous close. Germany's DAX Index climbed 0.7 per cent, the UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.7 per cent, while France's CAC 40 Index also advanced 0.7 per cent.