US stocks fell on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed officials wanted to see more evidence of cooling inflation and supported another hike in interest rates in 2023.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.8 percent in a volatile trading session, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7 percent. Stock markets were more than 1 percent higher before the minutes were released.
Earlier comments by Fed Chair Jay Powell that the Federal Reserve would slow its pace of interest rate hikes “did not indicate a weakening of the Committee’s determination to achieve its price stability objective or a judgment that inflation was already on a sustained downward path ‘ said the participants of the December meeting, according to the minutes.
Investors also took advantage of economic data released on Wednesday, which showed a fall in US manufacturing activity in December, the second straight month, to the lowest level since May 2020.
The Institute for Supply Management report also showed that the decline in prices paid by manufacturers has accelerated over the past month.
“Nearly all survey-based evidence now points at best to complete stagnation in activity or, more likely, a mild recession about to begin,” said Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist at Capital Economics.
US job vacancies in November were slightly down from the previous month but beat forecasts with nearly 10.5 million jobs available, well above the 10 million forecast by economists.
Read more about the market movements.
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