Stocks Jump Amid Tame Fed Minutes

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U.S. equity markets posted big gains on Wednesday after the Fed failed to deal any surprises in its minutes -- however volume remained quite light on the Street.

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Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 159 points, or 0.97%, to 16533, the S&P 500 advanced 15.2 points, or 0.81%, to 1888 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 34.7 points, or 0.85%, to 4132.

Wall Street took significant losses on low volume in the last session, with shares of retailers leading the way lower. Sentiment shifted on Wednesday, as traders scooped up beaten down stocks.

On the economic front, the Federal Reserve began designing its exit from near-zero short-term interest rates at its two-day meeting in late April, although policymakers stressed the eventual lift-off will come in the future, and only when economic conditions warrant. Meeting participants said their broad economic outlook hadn’t changed since March and continued to worry somewhat about low levels of inflation.

The conversation has shifted from a discussion over how quickly the central bank will taper its bond-buying program to discussion over when and how it will begin to normalize interest rates. Short-term rates have been at historic lows since the financial crisis, but as the economy improves, the Fed will have to begin hiking rates to keep growth and inflation from over-heating. Economists expect "lift-off" to occur at some point next year.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures fell 17 cents, or 0.17%, to $102.44 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.28% to $2.972 a gallon. Gold dipped $4.50, or 0.35%, to $1,290 a troy ounce.