The SP 500 gained ground for a fifth consecutive session Wednesday to close at a record as minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed broad agreement on plans to begin shrinking the central bank’s balance sheet and also pointed to a likely rate increase next month, as widely expected.
The SP 500
rose 5.97 points, or 0.3%, to close at 2,404.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
also rose for a fifth straight day, gaining 74.51 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 21,012.42, just 0.5% below its record close set on March 1. The five-day run is the longest winning streak for both the SP and the Dow since February.
The Nasdaq Composite Index
climbed 24.31 points, or 0.4%, to end at 6,163.02.
The minutes of the early May meeting showed that members were in agreement on a general approach to unwinding the massive balance sheet built up over the course of the asset-buying spree that was at the center of the Fed’s quantitative easing strategy. The minutes also showed most Fed officials agreed it would “soon” be time to raise rates again.
Read: Seeing another rate hike ‘soon,’ Fed outlines plan to reduce bondholdings
“The unwind in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet holds Chair Yellen’s signature gradual approach; she will not allow a quick unwind, nor anything that surprises markets,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, in emailed comments.
Caution had been slightly elevated after Moody’s Investors Service cut China’s foreign credit rating for the first in nearly three decades. However, stocks in China erased losses and closed slightly higher, while European stocks also shook off early weakness and traded in positive territory.
Read: Can investors afford do shrug off China’s credit downgrade?
In other central bank events on Wednesday, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan will participate in a moderated discussion at an event in Toronto at 6 p.m. Eastern. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari participates in a town hall discussion in Ashland, Wis., at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
On the economic front, existing home sales fell 2.3% in April, coming in below expectations as lean inventory constrained demand.
Stock movers: Shares of Bunge Ltd.
rose 1%, extending a 17% rally from Tuesday that came on news that commodities giant Glencore PLC
had approached the grain trader about a potential takeover.
gained 1.1% after Bloomberg reported that Japanese SoftBank Group Corp.
had amassed a $4 billion stake in the chip maker.
soared 6.7% to a record a day after it reported strong quarterly results.
Shares of Lowe’s Cos.
slid 3% after the home-improvement retailer posted quarterly sales and adjusted earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts.
reported profit ahead of expectations, but same-store sales unexpectedly fell, sending shares down 8.7%.
Earnings from Advance Auto Parts Inc.
missed forecasts by a wide mark. Shares fell 5.4%.
Container Store Group Inc.
soared 33% after its earnings showed profits doubled in the fourth fiscal quarter.
Other markets: Oil prices
declined for the first time in six sessions as traders await a meeting of 4 potential outcomes for OPEC’s crucial meeting
Metals prices ended mostly lower, with gold
off 0.2% and the ICE dollar index
edging down 0.2%.
—William Watts and Sara Sjolin contributed to this article.