The S&P 500 extended its win streak for a fifth session on Wednesday (24 May) to post a record close. Wall Street also celebrated the Federal Reserve's plan to gradually scale back its $4.5tn balance sheet.
The S&P 500 climbed 5.97 points, or 0.3% to settle at 2,404.39, with real estate leading advancers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 74.51 points, or 0.4%, to close at 21,012.42, just 0.5% below its record close on 1 March, MarketWatch reported. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite jumped 24.31 points, or 0.4%, to end at 6,163.02.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting in early May showed members agreed to plans to begin trimming the central bank's massive balance sheet. The minutes also pointed to a likely rate increase "soon".
"The Fed provided more clarity here," Matt Toms, chief investment officer of fixed income at Voya Investment Management, told CNBC. "They're implying the ability to modulate their balance-sheet reduction plan. It shows the Fed is not on auto-pilot and that they can adopt as needed."
Daniel Deming, managing director at KKM Financial, added that the Fed officials did not lock themselves into a particular plan. "That's why the market reacted positively to the minutes," Deming said.
According to Kensho, US stocks have historically posted gains on days when the Fed has released minutes since Janet Yellen became chair. The S&P 500 has gained 0.28% on average those days, with healthcare, consumer discretionary and materials outperforming.
CNBC reported that although the Fed held off raising interest rates in May, investors are expecting it to issue a hike at its 14 June meeting. The CME Group's FedWatch tool places market expectations for a June rate hike at 83.1%.
In economic news, existing home sales dropped 2.3% in April, below expectations, MarketWatch reported. Total mortgage application volume rose 4.4% last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week due in part to refinancings.
Meanwhile, gold dipped 0.2% and the ICE dollar index declining 0.2%. Treasury yields also dropped after the Fed minutes' release, with the two-year yield declining to 1.281% and the benchmark 10-year note slipping to 2.257%.