U.S. stocks on Wednesday sputtered slightly higher at the start, with investors offering a tentative stance ahead of the conclusion of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting later in the afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 10 points to 9,251. The S&P 500 Index gained a point to 995, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 4 points to 1,973. Very little news to move the markets. The retail sector looks good except for Sara Lee and Liz Claiborne which are lower on disappointing earnings. Macys is modestly higher after beating earnings estimates and lifting guidance. The financials are rebounding after a drumming yesterday. Allstate is up 4% on an upgrade. Toll Brothers is up 12% following lackluster earnings. After the first half an hour, the Dow jumped 100 points. The Nasdaq rose 27 points. Everything looks pretty good. The commodities are higher. The fertilizers are higher following a sector upgrade at Amtech. After the first hour the averages remain strong near the highs of the day. The financials are struggling to remain in positive territory. The averages remained near the highs of the day going into the Fed meeting in the middle of the afternoon. The Fed as expected left rates unchanged and the Dow shot up 170 points back above 9400. The Nasdaq jumped 45 points above 2000. In the last hour the averages gave back some of the gains, but recovered all of yesterday's losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 120 points at 9,361.61. The S&P 500 Index gained 11 points, or 1.2%, to stand at 1,005, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 28 points to 1,998.
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