Stocks staged a late-day rally in light, choppy trading Tuesday, following the latest Fed meeting minutes, which showed officials debated a third round of asset purchases to stimulate the economy and after investors shrugged off a disappointing consumer confidence report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 20.70 points, or 0.18 percent, to finish at 11,559.95, led by Caterpillar and Boeing . The blue-chip index was down almost 110 points at its session lows.
The S&P 500 gained 2.84 points, or 0.23 percent, to end at 1,212.92.
The Nasdaq rose 14 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 2,576.11.
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The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 32.
Financials and utilities were the two laggards among the key S&P sectors.
Minutes of the most recent Fed's meeting showed that the officials discussed a range of actions, including another round of bond purchases. In the end, Fed officials settled on keeping rates low until at least mid-2013.
The Fed members also added a second day to their September meeting, raising speculation that they may announce some further action following the event.
On the economic front, consumer confidence plunged to in July to its lowest level since Apr. 2009.
“Headline risk is still the biggest risk we have now,” said Brian Battle, vice president of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. “All the economic numbers this week should confirm the economy is either slowing or at a standstill…everyone’s still looking ahead to the big jobs number on Friday.”