* Fed minutes show policymakers eyeing faster rate hikes
* Ford, GM rise on December U.S. auto sales
* Comcast up after price target increase
* Indexes up: Dow 0.28 pct, S&P 0.57 pct, Nasdaq 0.90 pct
(Updates to afternoon)
By Noel Randewich
Jan 4 Wall Street held onto gains on Wednesday
after minutes from the Fed's December meeting showed
policymakers were concerned that quicker economic growth under
President-elect Donald Trump could require faster interest-rate
U.S. stocks have surged over the past two months on
expectations that Trump will stimulate the economy with tax cuts
and infrastructure spending, and eliminate regulations in the
But investors also worry that stimulating the economy could
stir inflation and push the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise
interest rates more aggressively than anticipated.
"Clearly, some of the members on the committee are taking a
look at proposed fiscal changes, whether that's tax cuts or
infrastructure spending," said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief
Investment Officer for Cornerstone Financial Partners. "It's
confirmation of what people were already expecting."
Extremely low interest have fueled a stock market rally
since the 2008 financial crisis and investors worry that raising
rates will crimp future increases.
With just over two weeks left before Trump takes office, and
the Dow Jones Industrial Average approaching the
never-before-reached 20,000 mark, investors also say they need
to see evidence that his campaign-trail promises will be
approved by Republican lawmakers.
At 2:27 p.m. ET, the Dow was up 0.28 percent to
19,938.17 points and the S&P 500 had gained 0.57 percent
The Nasdaq Composite added 0.9 percent to 5,477.83.
The S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector rose
1.31 percent and was on track for its best day in nearly a
month, helped by gains in automakers.
Both General Motors and Ford rose over 4
percent after posting better-than-expected U.S. sales in
Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with just
the energy and telecommunications sectors at a
Gilead Sciences jumped 3.24 percent after the
biopharmaceutical company named a new oncology chief.
Comcast rose 1.01 percent after Macquarie raised
its price target.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
5.45-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.75-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 136 new highs and 15 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Nick Zieminski)