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U.S. stocks moved modestly higher on Wednesday, as investors focused on the coming policy statement from the Federal Reserve.

The central bank concludes its two-day meeting today at 2 p.m. Eastern, followed by Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s news conference at 2:30 p.m. Most analysts expect no rate changes at this point but market participants will be searching for clues in the central bank’s statement and news conference on the timing of the first rate hike in nearly a decade and the pace of any subsequent moves.

The S&P 500 rose 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,100. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 38 points, or 0.2%, to 17,942. The Nasdaq Composite added 16 points, or 0.3% to 5,071.

Marc Pfeffer, senior portfolio manager at CLS Investments, said nobody expects a rate change from the Fed on Wednesday, but guidance about policy will move markets.

“Investors will be focusing on three things today: the policy statement, which will have some if any hints about the timing of the initial rate hike, the press conference with Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, and dot plots,” Pfeffer said. The so-called dot plot is a chart of Fed policy maker’s predictions on where the central bank’s target lending rates, known as the federal-funds rate, will be in coming years.

After a strong nonfarm-payrolls report for May, economists are increasingly pointing to September for the first rate hike, while market participants, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool, is pricing the probability ( of the first rate hike around December.

Pfeffer also noted that most investors are betting on September or December rate hike and aren’t pricing in the possibility of a rate increase in July, which he believes is possible.

“This meeting could give crucial hints as to not only the timing of the rate hike, but also (and probably more importantly) how quickly future hikes will take off,” said Richard Perry, market analyst at Hantec Markets, in a note.

A dovish statement could spur a rally in equities, but weigh on the dollar. Ahead of the decision, the ICE dollar index was down 0.1% at 94.89.

“Yellen has referred more frequently to global risks in recent months so it’s hard to see her stance being more hawkish and to see a repeat of the dollar strength we saw earlier in the year,” said Angus Campbell, senior analyst at FxPro in a note.

Movers and shakers:FedEx Corp.(FDX) shares fell 2.7% after the shipping company’s quarterly profit fell short of consensus expectations.

And after the market closes, earnings from Oracle Corp.(ORCL) are on tap.

Late Tuesday, Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) reported that its first-quarter adjusted earnings rose to 48 cents a share ( from 37 cents a share a year ago on the back of its cloud businesses. However, the maker of Photoshop and Illustrator software projected a weak second-quarter earnings outlook. Shares slipped 1.6%.

For more on today’s notable movers read Movers & Shakers column (

Other markets: European stock markets struggled for direction ( as investors continued to monitor developments in Greece. With less than two weeks until the country needs to repay 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the International Monetary Fund, the government still hasn’t secured a reform deal with its lenders needed to unlock the next portion of bailout funds.

Asia closed mixed (, with the Shanghai Composite Index rebounding from sharp losses earlier in the week.

Most metals slipped, while crude oil which was higher in early trade, reversed gains and fell below $60 a barrel after a weekly decline in oil supplies.