Daily Market Update 2/20/14

Rates moved higher Thursday as investors remained focused on the Minutes from last month’s Fed meeting that were released yesterday afternoon.  Members of the Federal Open Market Committee of the Fed remain divided as to the appropriate path for future monetary policy.  The Minutes indicated that “a few participants” considered the possibility that it “might be appropreate” to raise rates sooner than many expect.  The majority of members felt the Fed should maintain extremely low interest rates at least until 2015.  In today’s news, weekly Jobless Claims fell to 336,000, close to expectations.  The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.1% last month, matching forecast, and was just 1.6% than one year ago.  Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy components, also increased 0.1%.  Leading Indicators rose 0.3%.  The Philly Fed Index, a survey of manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region, sank to -6.3, far below expectations.  Readings below zero indicate contraction in the manufacturing sector.  No other key economic data will be released today.

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