Stocks finish with strongest session in a month, boosted by Fed minutes

|By:, SA News Editor

Stocks accelerated higher after minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting revealed policy makers dropped a jobless-rate target for raising interest rates, ending with their best gains in more than a month.

The minutes showed policymakers are not necessarily committed to hiking rates in H1 of 2015, making it clear the FOMC is unwilling to back itself into a corner by providing calendar-based guidance.

Today's advance was powered by many of the recent laggards; health care led among the S&P's 10 main sectors, helped by downtrodden biotechs, and momentum names enjoyed a boost from the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn, which surged 7.3% and 4.2% respectively,

Also helping investor mood was an encouraging report from Alcoa, which helped get earnings season off to a positive start.

Treasurys cut most of their earlier losses after the release of the minutes, with the benchmark 10-year yield ending at ~2.69%; elsewhere, the dollar slid while gold recovered earlier losses, clawing back to the $1,309/oz. level.