US STOCKS-S&P 500, Dow tick higher ahead of Fed minutes
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* Shares of energy companies, cruise lines are increasing
* Jail operator GEO falls due to suspension of dividends
* Fed minutes are released at 2:00 p.m. ET
* Indices: Dow up 0.2%, S&P up 0.1%, Nasdaq down 0.1% (Market opening updates)
By Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh
April 7 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow rose Wednesday, with financial stocks posting gains ahead of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's final meeting that could provide clues to the central bank's views on inflation and an economic recovery .
Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp, and Facebook Inc were among the top boosts for the S&P 500 benchmark.
Massive fiscal stimulus and quick vaccinations prompted several Fed officials at last month's meeting to forecast interest rate hikes as early as next year, opening a gap to those who don't see interest rates rise until 2024 at the earliest.
"The only thing that could move the markets would be a surprise in the minutes of the discussion about rate hikes," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
"Nobody expects that at this point."
A strong monthly wages and salaries report that helped the S&P 500 hit its fourth record high on Tuesday is just a small step towards the central bank's threshold of curtailing its massive support for the economy.
Value stocks, which also include economically sensitive sectors, have a strong lead this year over their growth counterparts, mostly technology-related companies.
However, a resurgence in demand for tech stocks in recent sessions has raised questions about the longevity of value trading.
The value and growth indices were put to the test at 09:48 a.m.CET.
The upcoming first quarter earnings season and progress on a multi-trillion infrastructure proposal could lead the way for markets.
"The earnings season should be pretty good as the economy re-opens and jobs come back ... the expectation is an increased forecast," added Nolte.
At 9:49 a.m.CET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.73 points, or 0.16%, to 33,483.97, the S&P 500 rose 4.79 points, or 0.12%, to 4,078.73, and the The Nasdaq Composite lost 7.81 points, or 0.06%, to 13,690.57.
Energy company stocks rose 0.6% and cruise companies Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd rose between 1.8% and 2.5% on optimism about an economic reopening.
Jail operator GEO Group fell around 19% after suspending quarterly dividend payments.
Ebon International shares rose 1.4% after the Chinese bitcoin mining machine maker responded to the critical report from short seller Hindenburg Research.
Declining issues outperformed advanced with a ratio of 1.1 to 1 on the NYSE and a ratio of 1.5 to 1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq posted 58 new highs and six new lows. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; editing by Maju Samuel)
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