Dow up 200 points, but Nasdaq turns negative as investors await Fed update

Stocks traded mostly higher Wednesday midday, with the Dow close to a record, but the Nasdaq Composite slipped, as investors waited for an afternoon policy update from the Federal Reserve.

Good earnings from the likes of Fedex, talk of coronavirus vaccine distribution plans by the White House, and upbeat sentiment about the latest batch of IPOs, including the cloud software company, Snowflake, supported investor optimism, despite lackluster economic data.

How are equity benchmarks performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.72%   added 210 points, or 0.8%, and was trading near 28,204, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.30%   advanced 11 points to about 3,413, a gain of 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.15%  index flipped negative at about 11,171, down 19 points or 0.2% after briefly trading positive.

On Tuesday, the Dow rose 2.27 points to finish at 27,995.60, while the S&P 500 gained 17.66 points, or 0.5%, to trade at 3,401.20, marking its third straight increase. The Nasdaq finished up 133.67 points, or 1.2%, at 11,190.32, logging back-to-back gains.

What’s driving the market?

Investors are awaiting the Fed’s first policy statement and updated economic projections under its new flexible inflation target strategy, which allows the central bank to let inflation run above 2% annually, and essentially calls for interest rates to remain lower for longer. Market participants are watching to see how the central bank and Chairman Jerome Powell communicate the implementation of its new policy measures, announced last month.

See: Fed to signal interest-rate hikes won’t be an issue until 2024

The Federal Open Market Committee will release a policy statement at 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Powell will hold

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