Wall Street opens higher ahead of Fed minutes

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, on Dec 28, 2016.
A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, on Dec 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Wall Street was little changed on Wednesday as gains in technology stocks were overshadowed by steep losses in energy shares, while investors awaited minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting for more clues on interest rate hikes this year.

The Fed, which lifted interest rates and unveiled details of its plan to cut its mammoth crisis-era bond portfolio at its mid-June meeting, will release minutes at 2 p.m. ET (2 a.m. Singapore time).

A recent set of tepid economic data and an inflation rate below the central bank's 2 per cent target may have a bearing on its rate hike plans.

"Markets will also be paying very close attention to see if the minutes suggest that the recent fall in inflation is'transitory', with suggestions of higher rates still on the cards, unless the U.S. economy decelerates," said Lukman Otunuga, analyst with FXTM Research.

At 9:43 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 28.82 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 21,450.45 and the S&P 500 was down 1.58 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 2,427.43. However, the Nasdaq Composite was up 9.72 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 6,119.78.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the energy index's 0.99 percent fall leading the decliners.

Crude oil was down more than 1 per cent as rising OPEC exports turned sentiment more bearish, dragging down shares of Exxon and Chevron by more than 1 per cent.

The tech sector led the gainers with a 0.59 per cent gain.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,820 to 787. On the Nasdaq, 1,550 issues fell and 884 advanced.