Fed minutes show officials unsure on need for rate hikes in 2019

Fed minutes show officials unsure on need for rate hikes in 2019

Fed minutes show officials unsure on need for rate hikes in 2019

But policymakers gave little sense of how long their "patient" stance on the United States rate policy would last, according to minutes from the January 29-30 meeting, resulting in jumpy afternoon activity and stocks trading on both sides of unchanged.

As US stocks plunged toward their worst year since 2008 and as trade and growth uncertainties persisted, market watchers had been closely monitoring December's meeting for signs the central bank could put the brakes on rate hikes.

Feb 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose sluggishly on Wednesday, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's minutes from its latest meeting, while assessing the latest developments in the U.S.

Shedding additional light on the central bank's pivot away from projecting gradual interest-rate hikes, the minutes said that "many participants suggested that it was not yet clear what adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate later this year".

"My sense is that a deal is going to get done, but not sure if March 1 will be the date".

The Fed's string of rate hikes previous year prompted heavy criticism from President Trump.

It also signaled it may slow or end reductions to its $4 trillion balance sheet, a process it had previously characterized as being on automatic pilot.

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On the earnings front, shares of CVS Health tumbled more than 8 percent to close at 64.22 US dollars apiece after the company reported mixed quarterly earnings result.

Chairman Jerome Powell underscored the message in his January 30 press conference by saying the Fed would be patient in deciding when and how to adjust policy in the face of a mounting set of risks, including slowing growth in China and Europe, Brexit, trade negotiations and the effects of the five-week USA government shutdown.

The rate-sensitive S&P financial index added to gains following the release of the minutes and ended up 0.6 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.96 points, or 0.21 percent, to 25,945.28, the S&P 500 gained 4.12 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,783.88 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.26 points, or 0.06 percent, to 7,482.51.

Southwest now expects a negative revenue hit of US$60 million (RM244.2 billion), up from the previous projection of US$10 to US$15 million.

The carrier dragged down shares of other airlines, sending the Dow Jones US Airlines index down 2.40 percent.

The S&P 500 posted 37 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 13 new lows.

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