US stocks drift lower after Fed minutes

New York, April 8 (IANS) US stocks traded lower in the morning session on Thursday as investors continued to digest the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting.

By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 150.67 points, or 0.85 percent, to 17,565.38. The S&P 500 lost 18.48 points, or 0.89 percent, to 2,048.18, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 52.98 points, or 1.08 percent, to 4,867.73.

According to the minutes of Fed’s March 15-16 meeting released on Wednesday afternoon, many central bank policy makers expressed concerns over a global economic slowdown in their latest meeting.

“Participants agreed that their ongoing assessments of the data and the implications for the outlook, rather than calendar dates, would determine the timing and pace of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy,” said the minutes.

Some analysts thought the minutes suggested a divided central bank, with many policymakers showing caution towards an interest rate hike in April, while others indicated that it was justified.

On the economic front, in the week ending April 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims decreased 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level to 267,000, below market consensus, the US Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The 4-week moving average was 266,750, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 263,250.

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