S&P, Nasdaq open at record levels after Fed minutes

GBPUSDMay24PPP

Fed signals it is close to rate hike

The greenback had weakened broadly after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's May meeting released on Wednesday showed that the central bank could raise interest rates soon but that "it would be prudent" to wait for more USA economic data.

Dow e-minis were up 57 points, or 0.27 percent, with 31,843 contracts changing hands at 8:33 a.m. ET (1233 GMT).

The S&P increased two points to hit 2,401 - a new record.

FED: According to the minutes from the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee on Wednesday, officials signaled that they would soon be ready to resume raising interest rates if economic data came in line with their expectations.

During the May meeting, Fed officials also discussed plans to reduce the central bank's $4.5-trillion balance sheet.

ASIA'S DAY: The Nikkei 225 stock index in Tokyo climbed 0.4 percent to close at 19,813.13 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rallied 0.8 percent to 25,630.78.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.25% at a one-week high of 97.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite are at all-time highs, but stocks are divided overall, as small companies trade lower and energy companies plunge along with the price of oil. The Canadian dollar hit its strongest since mid-April at C$1.3389 per USA dollar after the Bank of Canada kept interest rates unchanged and gave a more upbeat assessment of the economy than some investors had expected.

OIL: Crude oil prices slid for the second day in a row as the members of OPEC and other key oil-producing nations met in Vienna to discuss extending their production cut from previous year.

Many of these policymakers said recent firming of the housing market and business fixed investment were welcome developments, and they generally agreed the slowdown in consumer spending early in the year would likely prove temporary.

Asian markets rose Thursday as traders welcomed indications from the Federal Reserve that interest rates could rise next month, while oil prices rallied ahead of an expected extension to output cuts.

"We expect the Fed to raise policy rates two more times this year, in June and September, to 1.50 percent and three times in 2018 to 2.25 percent", Lloyds Bank commented in its latest research report.

The dollar manages to climb back to the race after investors expect positive data from the U.S. economic reports; it pushes the currency ahead other major currencies on the Friday market.

German 10-year government bond yields fell 4.1 basis points to 0.36 percent. The benchmark NY rate was down 1.3 percent at $50.72 a barrel while Brent, the global standard, fell 1.1 percent to $53.35. Heating oil lost 6 cents to $1.55 a gallon.

The euro, which went as low as $1.1168 overnight, was 0.2 percent higher at $1.1240, making its way back towards the 6-1/2-month peak of $1.1268 touched on Tuesday.

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