* Minutes in line with interest rate expectations
* S&P hits intra-day record high, Dow on track for record close
* Indexes: Dow up 0.13 pct, S&P up 0.24, Nasdaq up 0.45 pct (Updates to include stock gains following Fed minutes)
By Noel Randewich
May 20 (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 pushed into record high territory on Wednesday after Wall Street saw little in the minutes from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting to change expectations of when the central bank will raise interest rates.
Many officials at the Fed’s April policy meeting believed it would be premature to raise interest rates in June and that a bump in inflation was being offset by a weaker labor market and softer data, according to minutes released on Wednesday.
“We have been in this sweet spot where the labor market has been strong, which implies the economy is doing well or at least people are optimistic about it,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
“But at the same time we have very low inflation which is keeping the Fed at bay on rates, so this maybe just affirms that a little bit.”
At 2:47 p.m. the Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.29 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,336.68, the S&P 500 gained 5.05 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,132.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 22.95 points, or 0.45 percent, to 5,092.98.
The Dow was on track for its third straight record high close. The S&P hit an all-time intraday high of 2,134.72.
Eight of the 10 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, led by a 0.61 percent rise in the Telecom Services index.
Apple gained 0.56 percent and was the biggest contributor to gains on the S&P.
While the Fed is broadly expected to raise rates this year, the timing of the move has kept the market on tenterhooks.
A Reuters poll on Tuesday showed most economists were now less sure about when rates would be increased, but the median still suggested a move in the third quarter.
Growth slowed to a crawl in the first quarter, while recent economic data has painted a mixed picture. Consumption, business spending and manufacturing data have suggested the economy is struggling, but housing starts were strong.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,807 to 1,182, for a 1.53-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,494 issues rose and 1,232 fell for a 1.21-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 30 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 89 new highs and 50 new lows. (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal, Chuck Mikolajczak and Caroline Valetkevitch, editing by Savio D‘Souza; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Meredith Mazzilli)