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US: Stocks mixed as market awaits Fed policy statement

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[NEW YORK] US stocks were mixed in opening trade on Wednesday ahead of a Federal Reserve policy statement that is expected to announce the end of the central bank's asset-purchases program.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,033.55, up 27.80 points (0.16 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 0.93 (0.05 per cent) to 1,985.98, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 12.25 (0.27 per cent) to 4,552.04.

The Federal Open Market Committee, in a statement after a two-day monetary policy meeting, is expected to declare the end of a six-year-old quantitative easing program, which last December stood at US$85 million a month in asset purchases and has been progressively trimmed. The FOMC statement is due at 1800 GMT.

Investors are watching to see if the Fed gives any fresh signals on interest rates. The Fed has repeatedly said that the first rate increase in its federal funds rate would come "a considerable time" after quantitative easing ends.

AFP