Stock Market Today: Stocks Regain Momentum, Shrug Off Hawkish Fed Minutes

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The more hawkish-than-expected minutes from the July 29-30 Federal Open Market Committee meeting above all else endorsed the view that the U.S. economy has become strong enough to stand on its own two feet.

After the release of the minutes, U.S. stocks mostly picked up from where they left off regaining the momentum of the past five days, with the S&P 500 flirting with its July 24 closing high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.35% to close at 16,979.13. The S&P 500 rose 0.25% to 1,986.51. The Nasdaq was flat at 4,526.48.

"I don't believe it [the minutes] will staunch this latest equity run as we have enough momentum to get back to the all-time high in the S&P," said Keith Bliss, senior vice president at brokerage Cuttone & Co.

The shift to a more hawkish tone in the latest FOMC minutes was clearly evident: "Some participants viewed the actual and expected progress toward the Committee's goals as sufficient to call for a relatively prompt move toward reducing policy accommodation."

Moreover, "many participants noted that if convergence toward the Committee's objectives occurred more quickly than expected, it might become appropriate to begin removing monetary policy accommodation sooner than they currently anticipated." Members broadly agreed at the July meeting that labor market conditions and inflation had moved closer to the FOMC's longer-run objectives in recent months and that progress would continue.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen will give a speech at the annual central bankers' symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Friday, when markets may get further clues on just how far the hawks have tipped the scale toward an earlier rate hike.

In top corporate headlines Wednesday, Target (TGT) shares gained 1.82% to $60.33 despite a disappointing quarter and a full-year earnings warning. International Rectifier (IRF) surged 47.21% to $39.10 on the announcement that it is being bought for $3 billion in cash by Germany's largest chipmaker, Infineon Technologies.

--By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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