U.S. Stocks Open Modestly Higher Ahead Of Fed Minutes

By Mark DeCambreMarketWatch Pulse

U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve that could reveal clues about the timing and pace of interest-rate hikes. Investors were also digesting data from the U.S. housing market and hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened 29 points, or 0.2%, higher at 17,518, while the S&P 500 index was up 5 points, or 0.3%, at 2,056. The Nasdaq Composite Index started up 19 points, or 0.4%, to 5,005. Meanwhile, shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. [s:NSC] surged 5.6% after Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. on Tuesday proposed a merger to create a transcontinental railroad company with potential for stronger earnings growth.

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