Investing.com – Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday, with traders content to wait out the Federal Reserve’s policy decision later in the day.
The Dow rose 59 points or 0.2% by 9:40 AM ET (13:40 GMT), while the S&P was flat and tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 12 points or 0.2%.
The central bank is expected to keep rates unchanged this week but, with markets now assuming multiple interest rate cuts by year-end, traders will be scanning the Fed's rhetoric for clearer hints about the size and timing of any future moves.
Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference at 2:30 PM ET (17:00 GMT).
Markets now see the chance of a rate cut in July at over 80%, amid ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, which have slowed global growth and put downward pressure on inflation. This week alone has witnessed a sharp and unexpected drop in a key gauge of German economic sentiment, and a surprisingly sharp drop in Japanese exports in May - both economies being collateral damage of the U.S.-China spat.
"Expectations remain elevated over a rate cut in July and investors will be closely scrutinizing the statement for confirmation of a cut next month," said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at ForexTime Limited in London.
"Should the Fed sound less dovish than expected or completely omit any hints about taking action next month, it could send equity markets sliding."
Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) rose 3.6% after its earnings came in better than expected, while American Express (NYSE:AXP) inched up 0.3% after Bank of America/Merrill Lynch reinstated coverage of the company with a buy rating.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) was up 0.7%, while Uber (NYSE:UBER) jumped 1.5%.
Elsewhere, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) fell 0.7% ahead of its earnings report after the market closes, while Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) slid 1.5%, giving up some of the gains it made on the back of its blockchain-based payments project Libra.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) slipped 1.2% meanwhile.
In commodities, crude slumped 1% to $53.55 a barrel, gold futures slipped 0.2% to $1,347.55 a troy ounce, while the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.1% to 97.04.
-Reuters contributed to this report.