Stocks are rallying

US stocks are higher in early trading ahead of the release of the Fed’s October-meeting minutes.

Near 10:20 a.m. ET, the Dow was up 91 points, the S&P 500 was up 10 points, and the Nasdaq was up 26 points — all by about 0.5%.

The FOMC’s statement after its October meeting said it would consider a rate hike in December. The minutes today could explain why the Fed considered next month as an appropriate timing, and the things it is most concerned about in the global economy.

We’ve heard from about a dozen Fed members since that meeting, and UBS’ Art Cashin says one key thing left could be any discussion about the dollar’s rapid rise.

In economic data out today, housing starts fell more than expected last month as building permits beat forecasts. Housing starts fell 11% at an annual rate of 1.06 million, a seven-month low, in October, led by a drop in multi-family units. Building permits rose 4.1%, more than forecast, at an annual rate of 1.15 million.

West Texas Intermediate crude in New York was up about 1%, near $US41.13 per barrel, after the Energy Information Administration reported a smaller-than-expected build in inventories. Crude stockpiles rose by 300,000 barrels last week, according to the EIA, below an expected build by 1.9 million barrels.

The US dollar index pulled back slightly from the highest levels in a decade, and was near 99.55.

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