US stocks end mixed ahead of Fed meeting

New York, March 15 : US stocks pared early losses to close narrowly mixed as investors awaited the US Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting later this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15.82 points, or 0.09 percent, to 17,229.13 on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 fell 2.55 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,019.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 1.81 points, or 0.04 percent, to 4,750.28.

The Fed will start its highly-anticipated policy meeting on Tuesday and hold a press conference on Wednesday. Most analysts expect the US central bank will not raise its interest rates at this meeting.

“The Fed meeting this week is unlikely to end with a rate hike, but with a statement, summary of economic projections and press conference, there’s ample opportunity for communication,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

With no major economic data due out on Monday, oil prices were also in focus, which tumbled as Iran planned to increase its production to the level before the sanction.

US stocks have rallied for the past four consecutive weeks, buoyed by rebounding commodities prices, upbeat economic data and stimulus announcements from the European Central Bank.

The US dollar increased against other major currencies as investors were awaiting the closely-watched Fed policy meeting this week.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell as US equities and the US dollar rose ahead of the Fed meeting.

The most active gold contract for April delivery fell $14.3, or 1.14 percent, to settle at $1,245.10 per ounce.

/IANS

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