MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Fights To Scale New Heights With Fed Minutes, Earnings Ahead

By Mark DeCambre and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Japanese stocks close at 2-decade high; Spanish stocks rally as Catalonia worries abate somewhat

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U.S. stock benchmarks on Wednesday traded little changed, with the Dow industrials hovering around record territory, as investors await the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's September meeting, along with a ramp up for third-quarter corporate earnings season.

What are stocks doing?

( Jones Industrial Average edged up 5 points, or less than 0.1%, to 22,839, while S&P 500 index inched down by less than a point to 2,550. Nasdaq Composite Index also traded flat at 6,585.

Read:Investors face 'extreme mental exhaustion' in markets where nothing is 'normal' (

On Tuesday, the blue-chip Dow rose 0.3% to end at an all-time closing high of 22,830.68 ( The S&P 500 added 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq tacked on 0.1%, as those two gauges finished just below their record closes last week.

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The Dow has gained nearly 16% for the year, the S&P is up 14%, and the Nasdaq has risen 22%.

What are strategists saying?

The release of the Fed minutes is "today's key event, with traders looking for further insight into the Fed's interest-rate plans," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.

"With third-quarter earnings season getting under way--including results from Delta and BlackRock today and J.P. Morgan and Citigroup tomorrow--there should be no shortage of newsflow," he added.

What could move the markets?

The Fed minutes are scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, and a report on August job openings is due to hit at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said one more rate-increase before the end of 2017 isn't set in stone, during a speech in Zurich. Wall Street is pricing in a more than 90% chance of a rate increase by the end of the year according to CME Group data.

Later Wednesday, San Francisco Fed President John Williams will give a speech in Salt Lake City, Utah at 2:40 p.m. Eastern, and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will discuss balance-sheet normalization in Hong Kong at 8 p.m. Eastern.

See:Investors face 'extreme mental exhaustion' in markets where nothing is 'normal' (

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares in BlackRock Inc.(BLK) rise 0.4% after the investment manager posted better-than-expected quarterly results (

Delta Air Lines Inc.'s stock (DAL) also gain 0.7% after the air carrier's results topped forecasts (

Read more:Third-quarter earnings seen as 'an easy beat,' could set up more stock market records (

Micron Technology Inc.'s stock (MU) fell 2% after the memory-chip company late Tuesday said it would sell about $1 billion ( in new shares.

Barracuda Networks Inc.(CUDA) is set to see active trading after the cloud-computing company late Tuesday matched estimates for earnings ( and topped those for revenue and billings.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. shares (BABA) rose 0.3% after the Chinese e-commerce giant said it would nearly triple spending on cutting-edge research (, as it tries to keep pace with Inc. (AMZN) and Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL).

What are other assets doing?

European stocks were mixed, with Spain's IBEX gauge rallying as worries eased a bit about Catalonia's push for independence ( Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday suspended the independence process ( for the region, but Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday fanned the flames in the conflict, suggesting he's edging toward suspending Catalonia's autonomy (

Asian markets closed with gains ( as Japan's Nikkei benchmark scored its highest close in more than two decades (

Oil futures advanced, while gold futures and a key dollar index pulled back.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2017 09:59 ET (13:59 GMT)