* Fed minutes to be released at 2:00 p.m. ET
* Dollar hit 7-month high
* Cybersecurity stocks fall after Fortinet cuts forecasts
* Indexes up: Dow 0.25 pct, S&P 0.29 pct, Nasdaq 0.08 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Oct 12 The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial
average inched up on Wednesday as financial stocks rose ahead of
the release of the minutes of Federal Reserve's September policy
The Nasdaq was kept in check by a drop in Cisco and
The highlight of the meeting was an increase in the number
of board members who voted in favor of a rate hike to three from
one. The minutes to be released at 2:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) will
provide further clues on the possibility of a hike this year.
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 nearly 71 percent for a
move in December, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.
The S&P 500 financial index rose 0.56 percent,
helped by gains in Wells Fargo and other banks.
Berkshire Hathaway gave the biggest boost to the
The dollar, which would also benefit from higher
rates, rose to a seven-month high against a basket of major
"We've had a drop in commodity prices and some lackluster
earnings yesterday and that is an overhang in the market," said
Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital
Markets in New York.
"Today the markets are trading orderly ahead of the Fed
minutes, which is likely to solidify that we are going to move
Wall Street sold off on Tuesday after the first rush of
quarterly results kicked off the earnings season on a sour note,
and investors digested possible changing dynamics for the
upcoming U.S. elections.
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.
At 12:37 p.m. ET, the Dow was up 45.13 points, or
0.25 percent, at 18,173.79.
The S&P 500 was up 6.12 points, or 0.29 percent, at
2,142.85 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 4.00
points, or 0.08 percent, at 5,250.79.
Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, with real
estate rising the most by 0.68 percent.
Energy stocks took a beating as oil prices fell
nearly 1 percent after OPEC reported its September oil output at
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. Shares of rivals Palo Alto and Fireeye
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,617
to 1,257. On the Nasdaq, 1,465 issues rose and 1,221 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week highs and two new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 43 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by