Declines in utility shares dragged Wall Street lower, offsetting optimism about deal activities. The Australian dollar was buoyed by the RBA’s decision not to cut rates and the dollar climbed against a basket of major currencies, while gold declined. Longer-dated Treasuries jumped. Forecasts on lower U.S. output growth and higher global demand pushed oil up.
The Federal Reserve releases minutes from its March 17-18 monetary policy meeting, which should shed light on its internal debate over the rate hike plans. At the meeting, the Fed opened the door to a possible June rate hike by dropping a vow to exercise patience in deciding when to raise rates from rock-bottom levels. But officials also downgraded their economic forecasts and lowered their projections for future interest rates. Investors will parse the minutes to see whether the shift in their forecasts is due to worries the fundamentals of the economy are not as strong as they had thought, or whether it is simply to take into account a weaker-than-expected start to the year.