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S&P 500 books 18th record close of 2021 in listless trading day after Fed signals commitment to lower rates

Economy, Finance

The S&P 500 on Wednesday eked out a record, its 18th of the year, but trading action was otherwise lackluster as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting appeared to reaffirm a commitment to a lower-rate regime as the COVID-stricken labor market recovers. The S&P 500 index closed up 0.2% at around 4,079, on a preliminary basis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up less than 0.1% at about 33,446, to mark its third gain in four sessions, while the Nasdaq Composite Index edged less than 0.1% lower to around 13,669. “While generally acknowledging that the medium-term outlook for real GDP growth and employment had improved, participants continued to see the uncertainty surrounding that outlook as elevated,” minutes from the Fed’s March 16-17 meeting read. The central bank said that its “current guidance for the federal funds rate and asset purchases was serving the economy well.” Projections from Fed members indicate that policy makers won’t look to normalize rates until at 2023 at the earliest but segments of the market have pushed back against that notion, amid fears that inflation will pick up as the economy improves.

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