Wall Street little changed ahead of Fed minutes

Wall Street opened to little movement ahead of the Federal Reserve releasing the minutes of its May meeting.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US stocks were little changed in early trading on Wednesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve minutes of its May meeting that could cement the chances of a rate hike next month.

Fed funds futures show that traders now see a 75 per cent chance that the US central bank will raise interest rates in June. The minutes will be released at 2 p.m. ET (2 a.m. Thursday morning Singapore time).

Investors are also awaiting more details regarding the Fed trimming its US$4.5 trillion (S$6.24 trillion) balance sheet. "Our US economists expect the minutes to come down on the hawkish side and continue to expect the Fed to hike in June and September and announce balance sheet reduction in December," Citi analysts wrote on Wednesday.

While recent economic data has been mixed, with signs of a dip in consumer sentiment and spending, the job market continues to strengthen. That could give the Fed impetus to continue with its path of monetary tightening.

The tightening labor market and historically low mortgage rates have helped the housing market recovery. Amid a raft of housing data due is a report that is expected to show existing home sales fell in April, compared with March.

At 9:40 a.m. ET (9:40 p.m. Singapore time) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4.52 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 20,942.43, the S&P 500 was up 1.28 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 2,399.7 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 6.17 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,144.88.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by the utilities index's 0.49 percent rise.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,464 to 1,037. On the Nasdaq, 1,165 issues rose and 1,046 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 22 new 52-week highs and eight new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 36 new highs and 21 new lows.