Stocks cautious ahead of Fed decision

U.S. stocks were flat on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 little changed, while the Nasdaq set another record in early trading.

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Investors were awaiting the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day monetary policy meeting. It is widely expected that the Fed will raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. Of interest will be any commentary on the future for rate hikes through the remainder of 2018.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will elaborate on the decision and take the media’s questions in an afternoon news conference.

Ticker Security Last Change %Chg SP500 S&P 500 2788.48 +1.63 +0.06% I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 25303.96 -16.77 -0.07% I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7731.7026 +27.91 +0.36%

“Markets have almost fully priced in a rate hike today which, assuming the central bank does as expected, should draw attention instead to the new economic projections,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda. “The central bank has previously indicated that three rate hikes this year is likely but with the inflation picking up, the economy performing well and tax reforms having added an additional stimulus this year, a fourth could be on the cards.”

Economic data released Wednesday included producer prices, which increased 0.5% in May, according to the Labor Department. Core producer prices, which exclude the volatile categories of food and energy, rose a 0.1% last month. Wholesale costs rose at a yearly rate of 3.1% in May – the highest level since early 2012.

On Tuesday, The Department of Justice’s ruled in favor of  AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

The sentiment has been that if the deal were approved, it would spark a bidding war for certain 21st Century Fox assets, including a rival bid from Comcast for the assets that Disney is buying from

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