Fed Minutes Likely To Be In Focus On Wall Street

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a modestly lower opening on Wednesday, although early trading activity may be somewhat subdued ahead of the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting this afternoon.

The minutes of the Fed’s September monetary policy meeting may shed some additional light on the outlook for interest rates.

Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Tuesday before eventually ending the day modestly higher. With the gains on the day, the Dow and the Nasdaq ended the session at new record closing highs.

The Dow climbed 69.61 points or 0.3 percent to 22,830.68, the Nasdaq edged up 7.52 points or 0.1 percent to 6,587.25 and the S&P 500 rose 5.91 points or 0.2 percent to 2,550.64.

The higher close on Wall Street reflected recent upward momentum, which has driven the major averages to record highs.

However, a lack of major U.S. economic news led traders to be reluctant to make more significant moves.

Later this week, trading may be impacted by the release of reports on producer and consumer prices and retail sales.

Earnings season is also looming, with financial giants Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), and Wells Fargo (WFC) due to report their quarterly results in the coming days.

Tobacco stocks showed a significant move to the upside, adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session. Reflecting the strength in the sector, the Dow Jones Tobacco Index surged up by 1.8 percent.

Airline and utilities stocks also saw considerable strength on the day, while gold stocks came under pressure despite an increase by the price of the precious metal.

Commodity, Currency Markets

Crude oil futures are inching up $0.03 to $50.95 a barrel after jumping $1.34 to $50.92 a barrel on Tuesday. Gold futures, which climbed $8.80 to $1,293.80 an ounce in the previous session, are slipping $1.70 to $1,292.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 112.11 yen compared…

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