The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.31% higher, another record high, after the minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy-setting meeting indicated that an interest rate hike could come "relatively soon."
The Fed noted that inflation has been rising and that the labor market has improved.
"Most participants expressed a view that it could well become appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon," the Fed minutes said.
A rate hike in December has a high probability among Wall Street observers with any doubt after Donald Trump's recent election as U.S. president quickly evaporating. The chances of a December rate hike currently sit at 98%, according to CME Group fed funds futures.
In assessing the U.S. economy, the Fed minutes noted that "the staff's forecast for real GDP growth over the next couple of years was ... slightly lower than in the previous projection, primarily reflecting the effects of higher assumed paths for the dollar and for crude oil prices.
"Nonetheless, the staff projected that real GDP would expand at a modestly faster pace than potential output in 2017 and 2018, supported by solid gains in consumer spending and, to a lesser degree, by pickups in both residential and business investment. ... The unemployment rate was forecast to edge down gradually through the end of 2018 and then flatten out in 2019."
Orders for long-lasting goods in the U.S. increased 4.8% in October, according to the Census Bureau. Analysts anticipated far-slower growth of 1.5%. Excluding transportation, orders rose at a slower 1% pace. Core capital goods orders increased 0.4%, while core shipments climbed 0.2%.
Jobless claims rose in the past week, though remained at multi-decade lows. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 18,000 to 251,000, according to the Labor Department. The less-volatile, four-week average fell 2,000 to 251,000.
New-home sales fell 1.9% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 563,000. Economists were looking for new home sales of 595,000.
The final University of Michigan Sentiment Index for November rose to 93.8, ahead of estimates of a reading of 91.6.
Wall Street's benchmark indexes scored record closes for the second day in a row on Tuesday. The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq each recorded all-time high closes, even though gains were modest. The Dow also closed above 19,000 for the first time in its history.
Crude oil prices fluctuated Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported that domestic crude supplies for the week ended Nov. 18 fell by 1.3 million barrels, and after Baker Hughes reported the U.S. weekly active oil-rig count rose 3 to 474.
West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 0.06% on Wednesday to $48 a barrel. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which is a measure of the dollar relative to six foreign currencies, rose by 0.7% Wednesday to its highest in a decade. A stronger dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities, like oil, more expensive for foreign traders.
Eli Lilly slumped 10.5% after a late-stage trial of an Alzheimer's drug didn't meet its primary endpoint. "The results of the solanezumab EXPEDITION3 trial were not what we had hoped for," CEO John C. Lechleiter said in a statement. The drugmaker will evaluate the results and assess development of solanezumab and other dementia treatments in development.
Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) halted a clinical trial involving its most advanced CAR-T therapy for the second time in five months after another two cancer patients developing brain swelling. The stock tumbled 24%.
Deere (DE - Get Report) rose 10.9% after reporting a better-than-expected quarter. The farming equipment maker earned 90 cents a share over its October-ended quarter, down from $1.08 a share a year earlier but much higher than consensus of 40 cents. Deere expects equipment sales to decline 4% in the first quarter and 1% for fiscal 2017.
GameStop (GME - Get Report) rose 8% despite reporting a decline in third-quarter sales and guiding for a subpar fourth-quarter performance. The video game retailer reported a 3% drop in third-quarter revenue and 6.5% decline in same-store sales. Fourth-quarter earnings are expected between $2.23 and $2.38 a share. Analysts anticipated $2.37.
Urban Outfitters (URBN - Get Report) slumped 12% after falling short of earnings and sales estimates in its third quarter. The apparel retailer earned 40 cents a share, 4 cents below consensus. Revenue climbed 4.5% to $862 million, but fell short of consensus by $7 million.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE - Get Report) rose 3% after quarterly revenue came in light. The tech company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $12.48 billion, missing estimates by $370 million. Meanwhile, HP (HPQ - Get Report) , formerly combined with Hewlett-Packard, exceeded its quarterly sales estimates. Revenue climbed 1.9% to $12.5 billion, besting consensus by $620 million. HP declined 6.8%.