USA close: Stocks mixed as investors look towards FOMC

INVESTOR INSIGHT: "The Fed's seemingly hawkish views on sustained lift-off in USA interest rates may be seen as a form of pressure for regional equities and could dampen prices today", said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to say next month that it will begin scaling back its asset-purchase stimulus program from January, even though a stronger euro, which dampens inflation, has complicated the outlook.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session 0.28% higher at 22,331.35 and the S&P 500 was ahead 0.15% at 2,503.87, while the Nasdaq 100 lost 0.11% to 5,981.12. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent to 6,465.75.

Interest rate futures traders are now pricing in a 72-percent chance of a December rate hike, up from roughly 60 percent before the statement, according to the CME Group 's FedWatch Tool.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.32 percent, with 48 contracts changing hands. Markets were little impacted by the speech.

"At least over the near term, probably between now and the end of October, the market is at risk", he said. The Fed chief said policy makers are aware of the risk of prices suddenly jolting higher: "We want to be careful not to allow the economy to overheat to somewhere later on to have to have tighten monetary policy rapidly and.cause a recession". Central banks are also due to hold policy meetings in Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia.

Economic data includes a report on existing home sales that is likely to show it increased 0.3 percent in August, after falling to its lowest level in 11 months in July that signaled a slow recovery in the housing market. Gold futures for December delivery fell $13.70, or 1%, to $1,311.50 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (

Shares of Nabriva Therapeutics soared 90 percent after the company said its drug to treat community-acquired bacterial pneumonia met the main goal of a late-stage study. That was the Dow's sixth consecutive record close.

FedEx Corp.(FDX) added 2.1% after the logistics company late Tuesday reported earnings below forecasts (, saying the quarter offered "significantly operational challenges" due to a cyberattack and Hurricane Harvey. "The market reaction is interpreting the Fed as slightly hawkish but not too much", said Victor Jones, director of trading at TD Ameritrade in Chicago. The sector has risen in eight of the last nine sessions and has clocked a 6.7 percent gain in that time as investors anticipated the Fed meeting.

Nike fell more than 1 percent after a slew of price target cuts by brokerages.

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