Wall Street’s main indexes have risen as upbeat earnings from retailers pointed to strength in US consumer demand, and held gains after minutes from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting showed policymakers had debated a more aggressive interest rate cut.

US stocks moved solidly higher following better-than-expected results from retailers Target and Lowe’s. Target shares surged 20.4 per cent on Wednesday after the big-box retailer raised its annual earnings forecast. Lowe’s shares climbed 10.4 per cent after the home-improvement chain beat profit estimates. Robust US consumer spending has helped stave off fears of an impending recession.

Concerns about an economic slowdown rose as the yield curve between two-year and 10-year Treasuries briefly inverted last week. Though the yield curve again briefly inverted on Wednesday, it had little impact on stocks this time around. Some participants preferred a 50-basis-point cut, but the committee was united in wanting to avoid the appearance of being on a path to further rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 240.29 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 26,202.73, the S&P 500 gained 23.92 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 2924.43 and the Nasdaq Composite added 71.65 points, or 0.90 per cent, to 8020.21.

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