Minutes released on Wednesday summarizing their July discussions cited two positive economic developments that could encourage the Fed to hike interest rates: “the pickup in job gains in June” and a “prompt recovery in financial markets following the Brexit vote”, despite earlier concerns about how the British vote to exit the European Union could affect US markets. Of the broader group of policymakers, several expressed concern that low interest rates could hurt financial stability.
On the data front, weekly jobless claims fell 4,000 to 262,000, while the August Philadelphia Fed business index came in line with expectations. Benchmark U.S. crude added 21 cents to $ 46.79 a barrel in NY. Until such a regime change occurs, Bullard has said he feels there is no reason to raise key interest rates a couple of times, to 63 basis points, one quarter-point increase above their current level.
New York Fed President William Dudley, who on Tuesday unnerved the markets by saying a rate hike was possible in September, is scheduled to give a press briefing at 10:00 a.m. Dudley will hold a press briefing on Thursday in NY and his San Francisco counterpart, John Williams, is also due to speak.
Investors and traders were looking for clues in the minutes about the whether that increase will come in September or at its final meeting in December. “Recent data would therefore suggest a hike is not imminent”.
TURNING OUT THE LIGHTS: Lighting maker Cree forecast disappointing earnings for the current quarter, and its sales estimate was far weaker than analysts expected.
Consumer companies slumped after weak results and forecasts for some major retailers.
Bloomberg’s dollar gauge, which tracks the US currency against 10 major peers, fell 0.4 percent as of 11:22 a.m. Tokyo time, after rising 0.2 percent last session. MSCI’s emerging markets index was last down 0.65 percent.
CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 100.07 yen from Wednesday’s 99.84 yen. South Africa’s rand gained 0.7 percent and the Mexican peso advanced 0.6 percent.
The minutes said “a couple” of officials had advocated a rate increase at the July meeting.
South Korea’s won rose after its biggest one-day loss in nearly two months as Federal Reserve minutes tempered speculation U.S. interest rates will increase this year. On the Nasdaq, 1,245 issues rose and 1,006 fell. The stock gained $ 5.32, or 17 percent, to $ 36.56. It’s up 58 percent this year, wiping out a steep loss from 2015. Target is down 7 percent and Lowe’s is down 6 percent after each company cut its profit outlook.
“There’s a euphoria”, said Francis Lun, chief executive officer at Geo Securities Ltd.in Hong Kong. “Given the economic conditions, investors were not expecting too much from earnings”. The Nasdaq composite inched up 1.55 points to 5,228.66.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 8 cents to $ 46.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Energy stocks stayed low despite a turn higher in oil prices that extended the commodity’s rally to five days, as investors weigh up how sustainable the gain in crude prices to near the top of a $ 40-to-$ 50-a-barrel range would be. But most markets remained down on the day. “There has been a lot of momentum in the oil price, fueled by some jawboning with regards to the possibility of a supply freeze deal”.