The S&P 500 shook off a three-day losing streak Wednesday as the third quarter earnings season started with mostly strong reports and investors digested Federal Reserve insights as to when it will start tapering its asset-purchase program. The Nasdaq also gained by the session's end, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a flatline.
Here's how the market settled on Wednesday:
S&P 500 Index
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Nasdaq Composite Index
Federal Reserve releases September policy meeting minutes:
The Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes from its September meeting Wednesday afternoon, further detailing policymakers' discussions surrounding the timing of asset-purchase tapering and the economy's progress towards recovery.
The meeting minutes showed that policymakers expect tapering to begin by mid-November or mid-December this year, and will continue through mid-2022. Policymakers also discussed whether or not the economy has reached key labor market recovery thresholds that will signal the need to tighten the current monetary policy.
"A number of participants assessed that the standard of substantial further progress toward the goal of maximum employment had not yet been attained by that, if the economy proceeded roughly as they anticipated, it may soon be reached," the minutes said. However, other participants said they believe the threshold had been met.
"Some of these participants also suggested that labor supply constraints were the main impediments to further improvement in labor market conditions rather than lack of demand," the minutes added. "They noted that adding monetary policy accommodation at this time would not address such constraints or that the costs of continuing asset purchases might be beginning to exceed their benefits."
Consumer prices rise at faster-than-expected pace in September:
Consumer prices in the United States rose at a faster-than-expected rate in September over August and the same month last year, driven by increases in food, housing and energy prices.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased at a 0.4% monthly rate in September, accelerating from August's 0.3% pace. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI jumped 5.4%, also increasing compared to the prior month's 5.3% gain and notching the fastest pace since 2008. Consensus economists were expecting CPI to increase by 0.3% and 5.3% on a month-over-month and annual basis, respectively.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, September's CPI still rose 0.2% month-over-month, rising from August's 0.1% increase. Compared to last year, CPI increased by 4.0%, which matched August's rate.
Here's how market benchmarks started trading soon after opening bell:
S&P 500 Index: +0.29% or +12.53 points to 4,363.18
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.08% or +28.50 points to 34,406.84
Nasdaq Composite Index: +0.58% or +84.58 points to 14,545.13