S&P recovers from losses, dollar falls after Fed

Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:06pm EDT
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By Wanfeng Zhou

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks recovered from losses to finish flat on Wednesday, Treasury yields fell and the dollar tumbled broadly after Federal Reserve minutes suggested the central bank might ease monetary policy further soon.

The S&P 500 index fell early in the session on weak Japanese exports data and uncertainty surrounding Greece, whose leaders meet with European officials this week aimed at securing more time to push through reforms.

The Fed minutes from August said the U.S. central bank is likely to deliver another round of monetary stimulus "fairly soon" unless the economy improves considerably.

"This is quite a surprise, this announcement, and you are seeing the market react a bit favorably towards it," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended down 30.82 points, or 0.23 percent, at 13,172.76. The S&P 500 Index .SPX finished up 0.32 point, or 0.02 percent, at 1,413.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC closed up 6.41 points, or 0.21 percent, at 3,073.67.

The MSCI global share index .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.3 percent to 325.65, off a session trough of 324.03. The index hit its highest level since early May on Tuesday.

The Fed meeting took place before several recent encouraging U.S. economic reports. The movements by stocks and the dollar suggest "the market is questioning if the improvement we're seeing is 'substantial' enough for Chairman (Ben) Bernanke," Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey, said.

"I think he wants the (recently improving) economic data to translate into private sector job creation," Krosby said. "Overall, in general, you can see the dollar weakened, telling you the initial reaction from the markets is that it is sooner rather than later that the Fed will come in."   Continued...

A trader monitors the screen on a trading floor in London January 22, 2010. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth