File: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). AFP/Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NEW YORK - Wall Street stocks rose again on Wednesday following Federal Reserve minutes signalling a moderation in its aggressive policy to counter inflation, while oil prices slumped amid worries over demand.
US stocks followed up Tuesday's rally to close higher again after a majority of Fed policymakers found that a slower pace of interest rate hikes would "likely soon be appropriate," according to minutes of their meeting this month.
Analysts at Oxford Economics said the minutes "strengthen our conviction in our forecast for a 50-basis point rate hike at the December meeting" after the central bank previously engineered four straight 75-basis point hikes.
The minutes helped US stocks recover from an earlier swoon, while the dollar retreated.
All three major equity indices finished higher, with the S&P 500 adding 0.6 percent.
US markets will be closed on Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday and will end trading at midday on Friday.
Earlier, reports showed surprisingly strong orders of big-ticket US manufactured goods in October, while new home sales defied expectations and rose during the same month.
Weekly jobless claims ticked higher, while a University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment topped expectations.