Americans are getting ready for food, family and football on Thursday, but investors were still holding off until Wednesday afternoon before starting to give thanks.
That’s because the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its latest meeting at 2pm ET Wednesday, which provided more clues about the central bank’s thinking on inflation and interest rate hikes.
At its November 2 meeting the Fed raised rates by three-quarters of a percentage point — its fourth straight hike of such a large magnitude. But Fed chair Jerome Powell suggested at a press conference that the Fed may soon begin to slow the pace of hikes.
The minutes from that meeting showed that several other Fed policymakers agreed with Powell’s assessment.
“A number of participants observed that, as monetary policy approached a stance that was sufficiently restrictive to achieve the Committee’s goals, it would become appropriate to slow the pace of increase in the target range for the federal funds rate,” the Fed said in the minutes.
The Fed added that “a substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate.”
Stocks, which were relatively flat and meandering before the minutes came out, popped after their release. The Dow ended the day up more than 95 points, or 0.3%. The S&P 500 jumped 0.6% and the Nasdaq rose 1%.
Other Fed members, most notably vice chair Lael Brainard, had also hinted n recent speeches at a slower pace of hikes. Yet there have been confusing signals from other Fed officials, who have continued to stress that inflation isn’t going away and must be brought under control.
To that end, the Fed said in the minutes that inflation remains “stubbornly high” and “more persistent than anticipated.”