Wall Street rises, dollar falls on Fed minutes; oil retreats

Fed funds futures show that traders now see a 75 per cent chance that the United States central bank will raise interest rates in June. Wall Street has priced in a almost 79% chance of a 25-basis-point increase to the federal funds rate when the FOMC meets June 13-14, according to CME Group fed funds futures.

The minutes also contained details of how the Fed might reduce the massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet it accumulated by purchasing Treasury and mortgage-backed securities during the recession. Talk of a cap limit for the amount of securities the central bank would allow to roll off helped diminish volatility as investors welcomed clarity on how the Fed would go about tapering its holdings.

"Perhaps given that the FOMC (Federal Open Markets Committee) was relatively hawkish, saying that the weakness we had seen in the data was temporary, the market might expect the minutes to be on the hawkish side", said Athanasios Vamvakidis, currency strategist at Bank of America in London.

Wall Street rises, dollar falls on Fed minutes; oil retreats

The S&P 500 Index, along with related funds including the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) and Vanguard 500 Index (NYSEArca: VOO), were up 0.1% Wednesday. However, odds for a second hike in September fell to 37 percent from 40 percent, according to BMO. Until now, the Fed has been taking the proceeds it receives from maturing debt and re-investing them in more bonds. On the Nasdaq, 1 506 issues rose and 1 107 fell. The minutes will be released at 2pm ET (1600 GMT).

The Fed lifted interest rates once in 2015, again in 2016 and most recently in March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 1.35 points, or 0.01 percent, to 20,939.26.

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While recent economic data has been mixed, with signs of a dip in consumer sentiment and spending, the job market continues to strengthen.

"My expectations are that the pace of interest rate hikes will be kept steady and stable regardless of the short-term fluctuations in the USA economic data", said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group. The number of properties listed for sale has plunged 9 percent over the past 12 months to 1.93 million. Fed Chair Janet Yellen explained in January that the 10-year Treasury yield could rise by 15 basis points over the course of 2017 as "the end-date for reinvestment draws closer".

Gold held steady on Wednesday, after slipping in the previous session, as investors awaited cues on the U.S.

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US crude oil futures settled 11 cents, or 0.21 per cent, lower at $51.36 per barrel.

Oil prices were slightly lower as investors waited for news from Vienna where ministers from OPEC and other exporting countries were discussing whether to extend production cuts into the first quarter of next year.

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