U.S. stock markets rallied for a third straight day on Wednesday, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index ending at historic highs.
The gains came after the March Federal Open Market Committee minutes showed that most members think asset purchases should continue through at least mid-2013.
The Fed was forced to release the minutes to the March 19-20 meeting at 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday, rather than its customary 2 p.m., after apparently inadvertently sending them out to Congressional staffers and lobbyists.
The minutes are from a meeting prior to the April 5 government jobs report, which showed U.S. employers added a paltry 88,000 jobs in March – the smallest gain in nine months and less than half of the gain expected. But that didn’t appear to worry investors.
Investors also liked trade figures from China for March that showed a 10 percent increase from the year-ago period, which bodes well for a recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) of 30 large industrial stocks gained 128.86 points, or 0.88 percent, to end unofficially at 14,802.32.
The broad-based S&P 500 index (INDEXSP: .INX) of shares in the largest U.S. companies advanced 19.11 points, or 1.22 percent, to finish unofficially at 1,587.72.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (INDEXNASDAQ: .IXIC) climbed 59.40 points, or 1.83 percent, to close unofficially at 3,297.25.