Shares are barely increased as Wall Avenue awaits Fed minutes

US stocks edged higher on Wednesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve meeting minutes for clues on the pace of future rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 98 points, or 0.29%. The S&P 500 was up 0.27% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.45%.

Nordstrom’s shares fell more than 7% after the department store chain confirmed its forecast. However, Nordstrom beat earnings and sales expectations in its most recent results, according to consensus expectations on Refinitiv. Tesla rose 2.6% in early trade after Citi upgraded shares from Sell to neutral.

Jobless Claims data came in higher than expected at 240k for the week ended November 19 where economists had expected 225k, suggesting the job market could be weakening. At the same time, however, durable goods orders in October were stronger than expected, reaching 1%, better than the 0.5% expected.

“The market view is positive as the Fed looks to rebalance the labor market, which is causing companies to start influencing demand for higher wages,” said Quincy Krosby, LPL Financial’s chief global strategist. “Higher wages were consistently passed on as higher prices, leading to rising inflationary pressures.”

Investors are awaiting the final minutes of Wednesday afternoon’s Fed meeting for a glimpse of the central bank’s monetary policy approach ahead of the December meeting.

In early November, the central bank approved a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point hike, taking interest rates to their highest levels since 2008. Economists are forecasting a half a percentage point hike in December and smaller rate hikes next year.

Wall Street is coming off a bullish session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up almost 400 points on Tuesday. The S&P 500 rose 1.36% to close above 4,000 for the first time since September. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.36%.

Investors shrugged off fears of more lockdowns in China after the country reported its first Covid deaths since May. Instead, traders focused on some strong earnings reports and bet on the likelihood of future monetary easing by the Fed.

The markets are closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and close early on Friday.

Correction: A previous version of this story has been corrected to reflect that Nordstrom confirmed its forecast.

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