Stocks Clinging To Modest Gains Ahead Of Fed Minutes

Stocks continue to see modest strength in mid-day trading on Wednesday, although buying interest has remained somewhat subdued. With the gains on the day, the major averages are moving higher for the fifth consecutive session.

Currently, the major averages are just above the unchanged line. The Dow is up 20.90 points or 0.1 percent at 20,958.81, the Nasdaq is up 6.61 points or 0.1 percent at 6,145.32 and the S&P 500 is up 1.24 points or 0.1 percent at 2,399.66.

The markets continue to benefit from the upward momentum seen in the days following the sell-off seen last Wednesday, which many traders felt was overdone.

Trading activity is relatively light, however, as traders are looking ahead to the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting this afternoon.

The minutes of the meeting held earlier this month may shed some additional light on the outlook for interest rates ahead of the next meeting in mid-June.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates next month, with CME Group’s FedWatch tool indicating an 83.1 percent chance of a quarter point rate hike.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the National Association of Realtors showing a bigger than expected pullback in existing home sales in the month of April.

NAR said existing home sales fell by 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 5.57 million in April after jumping by 4.2 percent to a ten-year high of 5.70 million in March. Economists had expected sales to drop to a rate of 5.65 million.

Among individual stocks, shares of The Container Store (TCS) have spiked higher after the storage products retailer reported better than expected fiscal fourth quarter results.

Business and financial software maker Intuit (INTU) is also seeing notable strength after reporting fiscal third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Meanwhile, shares of Lowe’s (LOW) have come under pressure after the home improvement retailer reported first quarter results…

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