Wall St opens slightly higher ahead of Fed meet

Dow Jones Industrial Average Flying with Wind Beneath Its Wings

Dow Jones Industrial Average Flying with Wind Beneath Its Wings

Little movement on Wall Street today, but record-setting closes for two major indices on Wednesday, as the Federal Reserve announces no change in interest rates.

Traders seem reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the Fed announcement, which is due at 2 pm ET and followed by a press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen at 2:30 pm ET.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 2.14 percent gain in the telecom services sector.

While the Nasdaq edged down 5.28 points or 0.1% to 6,456.04, the Dow rose 41.79 points or 0.2% to 22,412.59 and the S&P 500 inched up 1.59 points or 0.1% to 2,508.24.

Jack Ablin of BMO Private Bank told AFP investors likely now expect the Fed will brush aside concerns about economic damage from back-to-back hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and raise interest rates for a third time later this year.

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The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 6.68 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,461.32, also squeaking out a record closing high, slightly above its September 13 close. The market is also anticipating getting details on the unwinding of the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

The Fed committed to reducing the bonds they own at a pace of $10 billion a month and increasing that pace by $10 billion every three months to a maximum pace of $50 billion a month, or $600 billion a year.

The three major US stock indexes closed at record highs on Tuesday, with the financial stocks providing the biggest boost.

About 5.8 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges.

Data showed USA homebuilding fell for a second straight month in August as a rebound in the construction of single-family houses was offset by weakness in the multifamily home segment.

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ( ALNY ) is posting a substantial gain after the biopharmaceutical company reported positive trial results for its treatment of a rare genetic disease.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.09-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.04-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

On the economic front, U.S. privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,180,000, beating market consensus, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.

Other markets: Stocks in Europe were ended flat, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-edges-up-as-fed-decision-takes-center-stage-2017-09-20) particularly underperforming due to a rise in the pound. Also, refineries were still restarting after recent storm activity.US crude fell 1.06 percent to $49.38 per barrel and Brent was last at $54.74, down 0.92 percent on the day.

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