US stocks mixed as Wall Street awaits Fed decision

Major US stock indexes were mixed at noon in New York as investors await the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.75 percent at 28,206.91 at about noon in New York. The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports – was up 0.47 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index had slipped ever so slightly into negative territory.

Investors are awaiting the results of the US central bank’s two-day meeting – its first under the new framework that pledges to shoot for inflation above 2 percent to make up for periods where it is running below that target.

The Federal Open Market Committee will release its policy statement and economic projections at 14:00 ET (18:00 GMT) and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s is set to give a news briefing later this afternoon.

Among stocks making headlines, Facebook shares were down 1.51 percent after reports the Federal Trade Commission is preparing a possible anti-trust lawsuit against the social media titan.

Facebook is also in the crosshairs of Kim Kardashian West and other celebrities who are freezing their Facebook and Instagram accounts for one day on Wednesday in support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign to boycott the spread of misinformation.

Shares of Oracle were treading water on Wednesday, after it emerged on Monday that it was chosen as the “trusted technology provider” for China’s ByteDance, which faces a September 20 deadline from President Donald Trump to either sell TikTok’s US operations or shut them down.

“I heard they’re very close to a deal,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he was a fan of Oracle’s chairman, Larry Ellison.

Shares of Apple Inc were down 1.58 percent at midday on Wall Street after ending on Tuesday marginally higher on the heels of unveiling a new virtual fitness service and a bundle of all its subscriptions known as Apple One.

FedEx Corp shares were up 5.33 percent after reporting a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by price hikes and lower fuel costs.

Shares of Boeing Co were up 2 percent after a US House panel concluded that two 737 MAX crashes were the “horrific culmination” of failures by the planemaker and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Optimism for a quick post-coronavirus economic recovery got another cold dose of reality on Wednesday after the US Commerce Department reported that consumer spending, the heartbeat of the US economy, decelerated for a third consecutive month.

Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in August – the fourth straight month of growth – but a slowdown from July’s figures.

Consumers have grown more cautious as negotiations in Congress have stalled over a new round of virus relief aid.

If the deadlock continues in the coming weeks, the economy could see a further cutback in spending, particularly from the lowest-income families.

“Real-time data continue to show demand struggling to sustain its upward momentum, with downside risk from expiring fiscal aid and a less-than-ideal health situation threatening the main engine of growth,” Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics wrote in a Wednesday note.

A slew of pandemic protection schemes is set to expire on December 31, including the national moratorium on evictions.

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