US STOCKS-Wall St ends nearly flat; Fed minutes support

miércoles 18 de febrero de 2015 17:31 GYT
 

* Fed minutes suggest concern about raising rates too soon

* Exxon down after news of refinery explosion

* Dow down 0.1 pct; S&P 500 down 0.03 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct (Updates to close)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 ended barely lower on Wednesday after a drop in energy shares but declines were limited by minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which showed policymakers are concerned about raising interest rates too soon.

Exxon Mobil, which fell 2.2 percent to $91.01, was the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Dow following an explosion and fire at an Exxon refinery near Los Angeles and a drop in crude oil prices. Also, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed shedding a $3.74 billion investment in Exxon.

The S&P 500 was down 1.5 percent, with U.S. crude oil falling 2.6 percent to settle at $52.14 a barrel.

Fed policymakers expressed concern last month that raising interest rates too soon could pour cold water on the U.S. economic recovery, according to minutes from the Fed's Jan. 27-28 meeting.

"The minutes reflect our view that while the economy is growing, an interest rate liftoff is not a slam dunk at this point," said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments in Atlanta.   Continuación...