* Expectations for rate hike unchanged after Fed minutes
* Humana biggest loser of S&P 500
* Cybersecurity stocks fall after Fortinet cuts forecasts
* Indexes up: Dow 0.25 pct, S&P 0.28 pct, Nasdaq 0.07 pct
(Updates after Fed minutes released)
By Sinead Carew
Oct 12 The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial
average indexes held their modest gains on Wednesday after U.S.
Federal Reserve meeting minutes did little to clarify
expectations on the timing for its next interest rate hikes.
Several voting policymakers judged a rate hike would be
warranted "relatively soon" if the U.S. economy continued to
strengthen, according to the September policy meeting.
"There's nothing new from the Fed and earnings are coming
soon so investors are going to see what earnings look like
before they buy more stocks," said Steve Massocca, Chief
Investment Officer, Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San
Traders have priced in small odds of a rate increase in
November as the meeting falls days ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S.
presidential election. The odds rise to about 70 percent for a
move in December, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.
At 2:47 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was
up 30.92 points, or 0.17 percent, to 18,159.58, the S&P 500
had gained 4.36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,141.09 and
the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 1.29 points, or 0.02
percent, to 5,245.49.
Overall, S&P 500 earnings are currently expected to fall 0.7
percent in the third quarter, marking the fifth quarter of
negative earnings in a row, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The dollar, which would also benefit from higher
rates, rose to a seven-month high against a basket of major
currencies on Wednesday.
Wall Street had sold off on Tuesday after the third-quarter
earnings season kicked off on a sour note and investors worried
about the U.S. Nov. 8 election day.
Eight of the eleven major S&P 500 indexes were higher, led
by real estate's 1.2 percent rise.
Energy stocks were down 0.4 percent as oil prices
fell after OPEC reported its September oil output at eight-year
Humana Inc was the biggest loser on the S&P, after
the insurer said a U.S. government health department cut its
quality rating on Humana Medicare plans, a move that could
affect how much the government pays the company in 2018.
Fortinet shares plunged 12 percent after the
cybersecurity company cut its third-quarter revenue and profit
forecasts and dragged down shares of rivals Palo Alto
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.03-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 1 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 29 new highs and 48 new lows.
(additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Anil D'Silva and Nick Zieminski)