Dow Books 4th Straight Gain, But Trump, Fed Make For Bumpy Stock-market Ride

By Mark DeCambre Markets MarketWatch Pulse

U.S. stocks ended a volatile session slightly higher on Wednesday, following what might have seemed to some like a torrent of political drama, economic reports and minutes from the Federal Reserve that showed that the central bank is contending with sluggish inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.1% at about 22,025, marking its fourth straight advance, the S&P 500 index closed 0.1% higher at 2,468, and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.2% to end at 6,345. Markets traded unsteadily Wednesday afternoon, reflecting uncertainty about the strategic path for the central bank and political tensions facing President Donald Trump that could upend his pro-growth agenda. President Trump announced the dissolution of a pair of business advisory panels following a wave of high-profile departures of corporate leaders after widespread criticism over the president's reaction and late-Tuesday remarks to violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Fed's minutes revealed a dovish posture, indicating that some members are concerned about sluggish inflation and wanted to move cautiously. In economic news, housing starts fell 5.6% in July weaker than expected. In corporate news, shares of retailing giant Target Corp. rose after it reported an increase in same-store saales and lifted its guidance for the full-year 2017. The Fed's minutes had a pronounced effect on the yields of 10-year Treasurys, driving prices higher and yields down by the most in 3 weeks, while the ICE U.S. Dollar Index , which measures the buck against a basket of six rivals, declined precipitously due to a combination of shaky economic reports and news about turmoil in Washington.

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