US STOCKS-Wall St falls in volatile trading after Fed minutes

miércoles 19 de agosto de 2015 16:45 GYT

* Energy shares lead decline as U.S. oil futures tank

* Indexes down: Dow 0.93 pct, S&P 0.83 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct (Updates to close, changes comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

Aug 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell in choppy trading on Wednesday as minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting highlighted concern over the state of the global economy, driving markets to question the likelihood that the Fed will raise rates next month.

The minutes showed policymakers continued to express broad concerns about lagging inflation and the weak world economy even as the U.S. job market improved further. Market expectations for a Fed hike in September fell from one in two to roughly one in three after the minutes were published.

Utilities stocks, sought by investors when Treasuries yields are seen remaining lower for longer, sharply outperformed the benchmark index with a 0.4 percent gain.

Energy stocks posted the most losses on the S&P 500 as crude oil fell 5 percent on the day, even as the U.S. dollar also weakened.

"It looks like based on commodity prices, China, wages not really picking up, that [Fed officials] are not getting any closer to meeting their inflation target and seems like they're probably not going to be willing to go in September" with a rate hike, said Don Ellenberger, head of multi-sector strategies at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh.

A delay in the start of the tightening cycle is seen as supportive of equities. However, concern about the strength of the global economy, specifically regarding China, kept pressure on commodity prices and weighed on stocks in the energy and materials sectors.   Continuación...