Global Markets: Wall Street edges up, Treasury yields consolidate in advance of Fed minutes
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - US stocks were slightly higher as government bond yields paused Wednesday pending the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes that investors will scour for clues about the central bank's economic outlook "pressed.
All three major US stock indices were in positive territory, with economically sensitive small caps and transports lagging.
"The market will be held until we get a tip from the Fed," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. "I think they will repeat what they have been saying all along. And the recent drop in the treasury is more or less putting game into their hands."
The US Federal Reserve is expected to release the minutes of its last monetary policy meeting later Wednesday, which will be examined for changes in its economic outlook and any clues as to when it expects to adjust its accommodative stance.
While recent data, particularly Friday's employment report, suggests that the US economy is picking up pace, advances in the labor market remain well below the Fed's threshold to tighten its loose monetary policy.
"The bottom line is I don't think they're going to be rocking the boat at this point, but their tune could be a little more optimistic," added Cardillo.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.75 points, or 0.11%, to 33,467.99, the S&P 500 rose 7.67 points, or 0.19%, to 4,081.61, and the Nasdaq Composite rose by 26.61 points, or 0.19% to 13,724.99.
European stocks are off record highs, while the UK's exporter-laden FTSE 100 rallied against the pound sterling.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.14% and the MSCI global stock index rose 0.14%.
Emerging market stocks lost 0.49%. The broadest MSCI index for stocks in the Asia-Pacific region outside Japan closed 0.48%, while Japan's Nikkei rose 0.12%.
US Treasury bond yields were mostly lower on Wednesday in generally calm trading, with the market in a period of consolidation after seeing a sharp stretch in recent weeks with the 10-year benchmark debt reached its highest level in about 14 months, but advanced longer-term returns.
The 10-year benchmark debt was last up 2/32 to 1.6491% from 1.656% late Tuesday.
The 30-year bond last fell 5/32, returning 2.323% from 2.316% late Tuesday.
The dollar was hovering near two-week lows against a basket of world currencies as bond yields stabilized and market participants looked forward to the Fed minutes.
The dollar index fell 0.14% and the euro 0.25% to USD 1.1905.
The Japanese yen was up 0.03% against the greenback to $ 109.73, while the British pound was last traded at $ 1.3778, down 0.33% on the day.
Crude oil prices retreated as talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran opened up the possibility of easing sanctions on its oil exports, offsetting prospects of increased demand due to the global economic recovery.
US crude fell 0.81% to $ 58.85 a barrel, and Brent was last at $ 62.44, down 0.48% on the day.
Gold fell as economic optimism turned investors away from safe-haven metal in favor of safer risk.
Spot gold fell 0.3% to $ 1,738.27 an ounce.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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