* S&P breaks through intraday record shortly after open
* FOMC minutes released, ahead of schedule, at 9:00am EDT
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.7 pct, Nasdaq 1.1 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, April 10 U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday
and the S&P 500 climbed to a new all-time record as investors
scooped up technology and financial shares that have lagged
gains in other sectors recently.
The Federal Reserve unexpectedly released the minutes from
its most recent policy-setting meeting several hours early. The
minutes showed a few policymakers expected to taper the pace of
asset purchases by midyear and end them later this year, while
several others expected to slow the pace a bit later and halt
the quantitative easing program by year-end.
As the FOMC meeting referenced in Wednesday's minutes
occurred before last week's data - which showed job creation was
unexpectedly weak in March - the market may place less
importance on it, said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist
at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.
That number raised expectations the Fed will keep its
quantitative easing program, known as "QE", in place for some
"All things seem to be continuing to point to the bulls and
QE will still be there. (That) is the market's take, at least,"
Financial shares helped lead the advance, with the sector
gaining 0.7 percent, while tech shares gained
0.8 percent. In the past month, both sectors have lagged as
investors pushed into more defensive areas, including healthcare
and consumer staples.
The benchmark S&P rose as high as 1,579.95, breaking the
record intraday level of 1,576.09 set in October 2007.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.18 points,
or 0.55 percent, to 14,753.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 10.72 points, or 0.68 percent, to 1,579.33. The
Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 36.19 points, or 1.12
percent, to 3,274.05.
Investors were also positioning for the start of corporate
earnings season. Among the 5 percent of S&P 500 companies that
have reported results so far, almost three-quarters have topped
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.
But quarterly profits are expected to grow just 1.5 percent
from a year ago, down from a January estimate of 4.3 percent.
The lowered expectations could make it easier for companies to
beat analysts' estimates and propel the market further.
Family Dollar Stores reported weaker-than-expected
profit on Wednesday, sending its shares down 1.4 percent to
Hospital operator Health Management Associates Inc
cut its outlook for 2013 earnings and revenue, citing weak
patient admissions in the first quarter of the year. The stock
slumped 16 percent to $10.57.