* Fed statement at 2 p.m. ET; Yellen presser 30 mins later
* Dow less than 1 pct away from 20,000 mark
* Nov retail sales up 0.1 pct vs 0.3 pct gain est
* GM, Ford fall after news of potential China penalty
* Indexes up: Dow flat, S&P 0.02 pct, Nasdaq 0.14 pct
(Updates to open)
By Tanya Agrawal
Dec 14 Wall Street opened little changed on
Wednesday, a day after all three major indexes hit record highs,
as investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's
The Fed is widely tipped to lift rates 25 basis points to
0.50-0.75 percent. The announcement is due at 2 p.m. ET (1900
GMT), followed by Chair Janet Yellen's news conference 30
Market participants will be paying close attention to
Yellen's tone and new forecasts, seeking clues on policymakers'
thinking on how President-elect Donald Trump's policies will
impact growth and inflation.
However, concerns over a strengthening dollar linger with
the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a
basket of six major currencies, hitting 14-year peaks last
"Markets are acting like a zombie today ahead of the Fed
decision," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think
"It is not that they are not expecting a rate hike from the
Fed, it is the element of the unknown which Yellen would deliver
in her statement."
At 9:37 a.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average was
up 0.26 points, or 0 percent, at 19,911.47, the S&P 500
was up 0.47 points, or 0.020689 percent, at 2,272.19 and the
Nasdaq Composite was up 7.65 points, or 0.14 percent, at
Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the
financial index's 0.91 percent fall leading the
Wells Fargo fell 2.5 percent to $54.43 after the
bank's "living will" failed U.S. regulators' assessment for a
second time this year.
Oil prices fell about 2 percent as glut worries resurfaced
after a reported rise in U.S. crude inventories.
U.S. stocks hit new all-time highs on Tuesday and the Dow
Jones industrial average ended fewer than 100 points away from
the 20,000 mark as a post-election rally showed no signs of
The Dow has climbed about 9 percent since the Nov. 8
election, with gains fueled by expectations that Trump will
reduce taxes and regulation and stimulate the economy.
"I don't think the Dow is an indicator of anything because
it's such a small sample and the way in which the index is
constructed," said Patrick Kaser, portfolio manager at
"But that said, right now we've been in a month of
bullishness and optimism and so the mood will swing to
skepticism as we wait for actual policies to come out."
Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales barely rose in November as
households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles. The Commerce
Department said retail sales edged up 0.1 percent. Economists
had forecast overall retail sales increasing 0.3 percent.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said its producer
price index for final demand increased 0.4 percent last month,
the largest gain since June, after being unchanged in October.
General Motors fell 2.5 percent to $36.40 and Ford
declined 1.3 percent to $12.59 following a report that
China will soon slap a penalty on an unnamed U.S. automaker for
Hertz Global dropped 1.4 percent to $24.80 after the
car rental company said on Tuesday it would replace its chief
executive and reduce its board size.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,445
to 1,133. On the Nasdaq, 1,227 issues fell and 1,028 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and no new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 26 new highs and six new lows.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)