NEW YORK, May 25 (Xinhua) — U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, with S&P 500 and Nasdaq hitting all-time highs, as investors continued to cheer the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting in May.
Most Federal Reserve officials see it appropriate to raise interest rate soon if economy continues to improve, minutes of the Fed’s latest monetary policy meeting showed Wednesday.
“Most participants judged that if economic information came in about in line with their expectations, it would soon be appropriate for the (Federal Open Market) Committee to take another step in removing some policy accommodation,” said the minutes released in the afternoon.
The Fed policymakers are slated to meet next month and hinted at a possible rate hike in June.
Market expectations for a June rate hike were 78.5 percent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
The U.S. central bank left its benchmark interest rates unchanged earlier this month as it waited for more data to assess the U.S. economic outlook.
During the May meeting, Fed officials also discussed plans to reduce the central bank’s 4.5-trillion-U.S. dollar balance sheet.
According to the minutes, nearly all policymakers favored a plan to increase caps or limits on the amount of Treasury and agency securities that would be allowed to run off each month.
Analysts said the markets took the Fed officials’ comments on how they plan to shrink the balance sheet as a positive sign.
On the economic front, in the week ending May 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 234,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous revised level, said the U.S. Labor Department Thursday.
The 4-week moving average was 235,250, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week’s revised average.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 51.71 points, or 0.25 percent, to 21,064.13. The S&P 500 rose 4.50 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,408.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 15.61 points, or 0.25 percent, to 6,178.64.