The Standard & Poor™s 500 Index erased a loss as speculation that the Federal Reserve will keep rates lower for longer overshadowed a drop in energy shares.
The S&P 500 slipped less than 1 point to 2,099.65 at 4 p.m. in New York, after losing as much as 0.4 percent. Energy companies in the benchmark index fell 1.5 percent as crude oil declined 2.6 percent from a seven-week high.
Equities pared losses as minutes from the Fed™s latest meeting showed some policy makers argued for keeping rates low for longer amid risks facing the economy.
The FOMC said after its last meeting it œcan be patient as it considers when to raise the benchmark interest rate, even as it described the labor market as œstrong. A report the following week showed payrolls rose more than forecast in January to cap the strongest three-month gain in 17 years.