* S&P 500 breaks through intraday record shortly after open
* FOMC minutes released, ahead of schedule, at 9 a.m. EDT
* Dow up 0.9 pct, S&P 500 up 1.1 pct, Nasdaq up 1.6 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 10 U.S. stocks rose more than 1
percent on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 climbing to a new
all-time intraday record as investors scooped up technology and
financial shares that have lagged gains in other sectors
The S&P 500 was the latest major U.S. stock market index to
join the recent trend of repeatedly breaking record highs. The
Dow Jones industrial average has been setting new highs for the
past few weeks.
Financial shares helped lead the advance, with the S&P
financial sector index gaining 1.1 percent, while the
S&P information technology sector index gained 1.7
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 500 rose as high as 1,585.96, breaking the
record intraday level of 1,576.09 set on Oct. 11, 2007.
The Federal Reserve unexpectedly released the minutes from
its most recent policy-setting meeting five hours early. The
minutes showed a few policymakers expected to taper the pace of
asset purchases by mid-year 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.
The softer economic data that has been seen since the Fed
last met is likely to give the market a reason to not pay much
attention to the time frame for ending QE discussed in the
minutes, said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones
in St Louis.
"I was a little surprised that they were discussing the end
of QE by the end of the year as though somehow all the signs we
were seeing suggested the economy was going to continue to show
strong gains," Warne said.
"At the time of those minutes, we knew the sequester was
quite likely to have a negative effect and that there were many
other things suggesting we would see not as strong economic
growth through the middle of the year."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 127.67
points, or 0.87 percent, at 14,801.13. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 17.16 points, or 1.09 percent, at 1,585.77.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 51.95 points, or 1.60
percent, at 3,289.81.
Whether the stock market rally can push even higher will
depend on how the earnings season shapes up, Warne said.
"Overall, the trend is higher, but we could certainly see
disappointing earnings be a catalyst for a short-term pullback."
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. Its stock was flat at $59.80, after earlier
falling 2.6 percent to a session low of $58.27.
Hospital operator Health Management Associates Inc
cut its outlook for 2013 earnings and revenue, citing weak
patient-admission figures in the first quarter of the year. The
stock slid 16.8 percent to $10.47.