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Wall St. higher at open; Fed minutes awaited

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major rivals, was down 0.17 percent to 97.184, after falling as low as 97.093.

It was also a fifth straight day of gains for the S&P 500.

"One thing that struck me a bit was that they registered confidence in the consumer was pretty healthy, and that's significant", said Michael Purves, chief global strategist at Weeden & Co. Signet Jewelers, which reports on Thursday, was down 6%.

"Under the [staff's] proposed approach, the committee would announce a set of gradually increasing caps, or limits, on the dollar amounts of Treasury and agency securities that would be allowed to run off each month, and only the amounts of securities repayments that exceeded the caps would be reinvested each month", the minutes said.

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "Traders have become increasingly convinced that we'll see a rate hike in June, the second this year, but questions are being asked about where the Fed will go from there".

The minutes will be released at 2 p.m. ET (1600 GMT) and Fed funds futures show that traders now see a 75 percent chance that the USA central bank will raise interest rates in June.

"The market isn't necessarily too concerned about how much they're going to be reducing on a quarterly basis, they were more focused on what the process was going to be", said Eric Souza, senior portfolio manager at SVB Asset Management.

Israelis worry Trump's changing stands look more and more like Obama's
Notably, Trump dropped the word "authority" from Abbas' title in his Riyadh speech, calling Abbas simply Palestinian president. Abbas appears more inclined to do that, perhaps as a gesture to Trump, several analysts said.

The euro was up less than 0.1 percent at $1.1192 EUR=EBS , having scaled a 6-1/2-month high of $1.1268 on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 index showed 33 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 64 new highs and 32 new lows.

Canada's dollar strengthened to a one-month high against its US counterpart after the Bank of Canada was more upbeat about the economy than some investors expected and as major oil producers looked set to possibly extend production cuts.

"My expectations are that the pace of interest rate hikes will be kept steady and stable regardless of the short-term fluctuations in the U.S. economic data", said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.

Elsewhere, world stock markets recovered from initial losses after Moody's Investors Service issued its first credit downgrade of China in 30 years, dropping China's sovereign debt to A1 from Aa3. After last week's market plunge on rising political uncertainty, the stock market uptrend is under pressure, a status that advises investors to exercise more caution when buying stocks.

Elsewhere, the Canadian dollar stood steady at C$1.3518 per dollar after touching C$1.3457 overnight, its strongest in a month. Brent crude was last down 0.39 per cent, or 21 cents at $53.94.

Oil prices were slightly lower as investors waited for news from Vienna where ministers from OPEC and other exporting countries were discussing whether to extend production cuts into the first quarter of next year.

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