December 20, 2014
Wall St soars after Fed minutes signal support
US stocks rallied after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed a more supportive central bank than investors had previously expected.
All three major US stock indexes ended up more than 1 percent, with eight of the 10 S&P 500 sector indexes closing higher. Internet and biotech stocks were among the day's biggest gainers.
Fed policymakers were unanimous in wanting to ditch the thresholds they had been using to telegraph a policy tightening, according to minutes of a meeting last month that shed little new light on what might prompt an eventual interest-rate rise.
Alcoa Inc shot up 3.8 percent to end at $13. The stock ranked as one of the S&P 500's best performers after the aluminum producer's earnings, excluding restructuring charges and other special items, exceeded analysts' expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 181.04 points or 1.11 percent, to end at 16,437.18. The S&P 500 gained 20.22 points or 1.09 percent, to finish at 1,872.18. The Nasdaq Composite added 70.914 points or 1.72 percent, to close at 4,183.90.
About 6.3 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, below the 6.9 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
US Treasuries prices fell as traders trimmed their bond holdings in advance of a $21 billion auction of 10-year notes.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was down 5/32 in price to yield 2.6989 percent.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of 11 to 4, while on the Nasdaq, three stocks rose for every one that fell.
Meanwhile in Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares closed up 0.36 percent at 1,338.12, while MSCI's all-country equity index rose 0.66 percent.
Gains were led by automakers, although some traders said caution ahead of the European earnings season could curb near-term progress.
Brent crude rose toward $108 a barrel as rising tension between Russia and Ukraine overshadowed the bearish impact of a substantial rise in crude oil stockpiles in the United States.
While the Ukraine crisis may not directly impact global oil supplies and trade, the risk premium on oil is rising as investors worry the Kremlin's stand-off with the West could quickly take a turn for the worse. Brent crude rose 31 cents to settle at $107.98 a barrel.
US oil settled up $1.04 to $103.60.