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US: Stocks close mostly lower after Fed minutes

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US stocks finished mostly lower on Wednesday after a short-lived jump that came when the Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes cast doubt on an interest rate hike in June.

[NEW YORK] US stocks finished mostly lower on Wednesday after a short-lived jump that came when the Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes cast doubt on an interest rate hike in June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26.99 points (0.15 per cent) to 18,285.40.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 1.98 (0.09 per cent) to 2,125.85, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 1.71 (0.03 per cent) to 5,071.74.

Stocks spiked higher briefly in the afternoon after the Federal Reserve published the minutes of its April 28-29 monetary policy meeting.

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"Many participants" at the meeting "thought it unlikely that the data available in June would provide sufficient confirmation that the conditions for raising the target range for the federal funds rate had been satisfied," the minutes said, although they did not rule out the possibility.

Retailers were in focus on a mixed batch of earnings. Discount chain Target rose 0.3 per cent after reporting first-quarter profit surged 51.6 per cent from a year ago to US$635 million and raising its full-year earnings forecast.

Home improvement retailer Lowe's lost 4.6 per cent after its first-quarter results disappointed.

Office supplies chain Staples reported a 39 per cent plunge in first-quarter, citing store closures in North America and the stronger dollar. Staples shares fell 1.6 per cent.

Airline stocks nosedived after American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said in a Bloomberg News interview Tuesday that the world's biggest airline would "compete aggressively" against discounters as competition ramps up thanks to cheaper jet fuel.

American plunged 10.0 per cent, United Continental Holdings dived 10.3 per cent, Southwest Airlines shed 9.1 per cent and Delta Air Lines fell 5.6 per cent.

Auto-parts and services retailer Pep Boys leaped 16.2 per cent after The Wall Street Journal reported private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital and others have recently expressed interest in buying it.

Plains All American Pipeline fell 1.5 per cent after a pipeline rupture spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury edged up to 2.29 per cent from 2.28 per cent Tuesday, while the 30-year advanced to 3.08 per cent from 3.07 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP

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