Federal Reserve minutes to the rescue

The release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s May meeting turned markets from red to green this afternoon.

The day had started off with just about everything in retreat on an avalanche of disquieting news. President Donald Trump seemed to back away from concluding a trade agreement with China. The Turkish lira fell and emerging market analysts increased talk of a crisis in markets from Argentina to Ankara. Tensions in North Korea and the Middle East continued to hover over markets.

And then came the 2 p.m. release of minutes from the Fed saying that the U.S. central bank remains on track for three to four interest rate increases in 2018, but sees no reason to speed up the pace of those moves. In fact, the Federal Reserve isn’t even especially worried at the prospect that inflation might, for a short time, exceed the central bank’s 2% target rate.

For the day, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index closed up 0.32% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.21% higher. The NASDAQ Composite moved ahead 0.64%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), which was the center of so much angst in the morning, ended lower by just 0.04%.