The stock market is waiting on the Fed.
Major indexes drifted lower in midday trading Wednesday as traders wondered what the Federal Reserve will say about the U.S. economy and the central bank's huge stimulus program this afternoon.
The U.S. central bank will release its latest policy update at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and Bernanke will speak at a press conference thirty minutes later. Comments by Bernanke last month suggesting the central bank may soon ease that support unsettled investors and caused this year's rally in stocks to stall.
"All eyes are on Bernanke and markets are being held hostage until he speaks," said Joseph Tanious, Global Market Strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.
The Fed has been buying $85 billion of bonds a month to support an economy that is still struggling to grow faster following the Great Recession.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,298 as of 12 p.m. Eastern Daylight time. [Read more...]