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US: Stocks mostly up ahead of Fed statement


[NEW YORK] US stocks opened mostly higher Wednesday following strong Apple earnings as investors awaited a Federal Reserve policy statement later in the day.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17.627.96, up 46.53 points (0.26 percent).

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 3.22 (0.16 percent) to 2,069.11, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 2.45 (0.05 percent) to 5,027.70.

Apple gained 1.9 percent after reporting that fourth-quarter profits rose 31 percent to US$11.1 billion behind a 22 percent jump in revenue to US$51.5 billion.

Market voices on:

Markets were looking ahead to the 1800 GMT release of a Fed policy statement. A rate hike is considered off the table for now, but the communique will be scrutinized for clues about the future.

"The market predominately thinks that a rate hike will wait for 2016, so any hint that the FOMC is still leaning in favour of a rate hike at the December meeting could cause some bearish upset in afternoon trading," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"Conversely, an all-clear signal for 2015 could get the bulls running again."


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