The Federal Reserve gave Wall Street a leg-up today, boosting the stock market to new highs for the year by acknowledging that interest rates won't keep going up forever.
In discussions preceding their last decision to raise interest rates, Fed officials said that "before long" they won't need to keep hiking rates, minutes of that meeting revealed.
Fed policymakers may simply have been stating the obvious, but to traders anxious about future interest rates, any hint that rates are nearing their peak is considered a valuable clue.
The stock market, which had been drifting along before the release of the minutes from the Fed meeting, bounced as soon as the first flash hit the market. After traders actually studied the Federal Reserve notes, the gains held.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 51 points to 10,871.43.
The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index gained 12 points to 2,253.56.
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index advanced 6 points to 1,261.23.
Pouring over the Fed's statement word-by-word, Wall Streeters found what they decided were repeated hints that the Fed may soon back away from its policy of boosting short-term interest rates by a quarter of a point every time it meets.
Some policymakers expressed concern that the economy could be slowing down, others cautioned about boosting rates too high. And the minutes show repeated comments about possible changes in the language the Fed uses in statements issued along with rate decisions. The Fed has so consistently talked about boosting rates at a "measured pace" that traders figure any change in policy could only mean easing off a bit.