U.S. stocks were rising slightly late on Wednesday morning ahead of a key statement by the Federal Reserve which is expected to provide clues on the next monetary policy move by the U.S. central bank.
Materials sector shares were leading the advance, with DuPont (NYSE:DD) up 4.3 percent at $68.64 after activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management, among the biggest shareholders in the company, urged it to separate its high-growth businesses from those with strong cash flows.
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The broader market focused on the Fed as it concludes a two-day policy meeting. It is expected to provide indications on how soon it may lift interest rates as it prepares for a shift in stance after years of near-zero interest rates.
The market has overreacted with its hawkish expectations from the Fed, according to Michael Yoshikami, chief executive at Destination Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, California.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen "has consistently been very conservative in her perspective about raising rates," he said. "I think the Fed will surprise people and continue to keep rates low for a significant period of time."
The Dow Jones industrial average was rising 16.15 points, or 0.09 percent, to 17,148.12, the S&P 500 was gaining 1.24 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,000.22 and the Nasdaq Composite was adding 2.62 points, or 0.06 percent, to 4,555.38.
The largest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange was Ryerson Holding (NYSE:RYI), up 9.65 percent after bullish notes from at least five analysts. The largest percentage decliner was Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX), down 16.12 percent after the cloud management services provider said it would not sell itself.
Among the most active stocks on the NYSE were Petrobras, up 1.31 percent to $17.74; Civitas Solutions (NYSE:CIVI), down 2.65 percent to $16.55 and Alcoa (NYSE:AA), up 0.50 percent to $16.24.
On the Nasdaq, Net Element (NASDAQ:NETE) up 33.5 percent to $3.47; Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), up 0.3 percent to $101.19 and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), down 0.3 percent to $42.60, were among the most actively traded.
Net Element announced it will make it possible for customers to use Apple Pay by integrating Apple services into its point-of-sale payment acceptance hardware and software.
Advancing issues were outnumbering declining ones on the NYSE by 1,761 to 1,104, for a 1.60-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,617 issues were rising and 891 falling for a 1.81-to-1 ratio.
The broad S&P 500 index was posting 38 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 37 new highs and 28 new lows.