US STOCKS-Wall Street mixed with Fed minutes in focus

·3 min read

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* FOMC May meeting minutes due at 1400 ET (1800 GMT)

* Nordstrom climbs after raising profit outlook

* Indexes: Dow off 0.20%, S&P inches up 0.09%, Nasdaq adds 0.41% (Updates prices; adds comment, details)

By Anisha Sircar and Devik Jain

May 25 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were mixed in choppy trading on Wednesday ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve's May meeting, which will likely offer clues on the path of future rate hikes.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors declined. Consumer discretionary outperformed, last up 2.1%, followed by a 1.2% rise in energy.

The U.S. central bank at its May meeting raised interest rates by half a percentage point, the biggest jump in 22 years. Minutes of that session, due to be released at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), could start shaping the debate over what happens when the Fed meets in June and July to fight surging prices.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has promised to keep pushing on rate hikes until there is clear and convincing evidence that inflation is dropping. That has prompted money markets to price in 50 basis point hikes in June and July.

The aggressive outlook for policy tightening, uncertainty stemming from the Ukraine conflict and dismal forecasts from retailers have roiled markets recently, with the S&P 500 coming close last week to confirming a bear market from its Jan. 3 record closing high.

The benchmark index is now down 17.5% from its all-time closing high, while the Nasdaq has dropped 30% from its November 2021 closing high.

"We're in a difficult period with the Fed, China (economic) situation, Ukraine and inflation. The (Fed's) objective is to slow down the economy, but without grinding it to a screeching halt, that's the real puzzle," Mark Stoeckle, chief executive officer at Adams Funds, said.

The Commerce Department's report showed new orders for U.S.-made capital goods increased less than expected in April, a day after data showed new home sales plunging and business activity decelerating.

"In some respects, you could argue that (the Fed's plan) is working. Rate hikes have changed behavior, it has begun to slow the economy and that's not a bad thing," Stoeckle said.

At 12:45 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 62.65 points, or 0.20%, at 31,865.97, the S&P 500 was up 3.68 points, or 0.09%, at 3,945.16.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 46.73 points, or 0.41%, at 11,311.18, boosted by and Tesla Inc , up 2.4% and 4.8%, respectively.

Nordstrom Inc jumped 12.1% after the upscale retailer raised its annual profit and revenue forecasts, counting on demand from affluent consumers to help it overcome price pressures.

Wendy's Co leaped 9.8% after a regulatory filing showed the burger chain's largest shareholder Nelson Peltz was considering a potential takeover bid for the company.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.10-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.47-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and 31 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 220 new lows. (Reporting by Anisha Sircar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Shounak Dasgupta)

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