Stocks Pare Losses on Hopes Fed Will Step In
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks got a boost late Wednesday after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting showed growing support for additional stimulus "fairly soon."
"Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," the minutes read.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 31 points, or 0.2%, to 13,173, bouncing off a low of 13,120. The blue-chip index, which has fallen in the first two sessions of this week, started the day up 8.1% so far in 2012.
Hewlett-Packard reported earnings of $1 a share on revenue of $29.7 billion in the July quarter. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters called for 98 cents a share on $30.1 billion. HP was gaining 2.4% in after-hours trading, after it lost 3.7% in the regular session.
The S&P 500, which hit its highest level since May 2008 on Tuesday, finished up less than a point at 1,413.49.
The Nasdaq rose 6 points, or 0.2%, at 3,074, regaining roughly 20 points off its worst levels of the day.
Stocks were weak for the much of Wednesday's session, extending this week's losses, as investors grew cautious ahead of the release of the minutes and continued to take profits.
Early trading was also driven by housing data coming in slightly below expectations, with the National Association of Realtors saying existing-home sales for July came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.47 million versus economists' expectations of 4.52 million.