Stocks Wobble Ahead of Fed Minutes

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U.S. stocks wobbled Wednesday as investors awaited notes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting for clues on how officials view inflation and the pace of economic recovery.

The S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher about 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1%. On Tuesday, indexes pulled back slightly after closing at record highs at the start of the week.

Signs that the economy is rebounding from its coronavirus-driven slump have buoyed investors and helped propel the major indexes to unprecedented levels this week. The rapidly progressing vaccination rollout, combined with both monetary and fiscal support, is aiding in the recovery of the labor market and the manufacturing sector. Money managers are betting that more of the economy will return to a normal footing soon and give a boost to travel and leisure companies.

“We had been expecting the data to improve about this time, and early signals are that the recovery is absolutely on track,” said Hugh Gimber, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “This is the period where the forecast of a strong recovery in growth is starting to look more like the fact of a strong recovery in growth.”

Some investors remain nervous that the easing of restrictions, coupled with pent-up consumer demand, could drive up inflation and prompt the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than expected.

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