New York [US], August 18 (ANI/Sputnik): Stocks on Wall Street fell broadly for the first time since the start of this week after minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting stirred debate on the direction for US interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which comprises stocks of 30 large US corporations, fell 0.5 per cent on the day. It had gained 4 per cent in five previous trading sessions.
The SP 500 index, which represents the top 500 US stocks, slid 0.7 per cent after gaining some 2.3 per cent over three previous sessions.
The Nasdaq Composite Index, which comprises marquee names in technology such as Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, was the only US stock barometer down for a second day in a row this week, after Tuesday's decline of 0.2 per cent.
Stocks fell as the Fed did not give a clear direction on in its July meeting minutes published on Wednesday.
The US central bank's interest rate hikes could slow at some point if inflation continues retreating from the four-decade highs seen earlier this year.
But it also said some policy-makers on its Federal Open Market Committee wanted rates to be retained at a "sufficiently restrictive level" for an appreciable period of time to stop inflation in its tracks.
"The data-dependent central bank is looking at a strong economy that could handle at the very least a couple more massive 75 basis-point rate hikes if inflation does not cool quickly," Ed Moya, an analyst at online trading brokerage OANDA, said.
Until the Fed's July meeting minutes released on Wednesday, traders have been betting on the central bank raising interest rates by just 50 basis points at its next meeting in September, versus previous wagers for a 75 basis-point hike.
The Fed has carried out four rate hikes since March, bringing key lending rates from nearly zero to as high as 2.5 per cent by July.
Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), however, remains at more than four times the central bank's annual target of 2 per cent. The CPI grew at 8.5 per cent during the year to July. Prior to that, the CPI expanded at its fastest pace in four decades, growing 9.1 per cent during the year to June. (ANI/Sputnik)