* Fed statement at 2 p.m. ET; Yellen presser 30 mins later
* Dow less than 1 pct away from 20,000 mark
* Express Scripts fall biggest drag on health index
* GM, Ford fall after news of potential China penalty
* Indexes down: Dow 0.15 pct, S&P 0.18 pct, Nasdaq 0.05 pct
(Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
Dec 14 The post-election rally in U.S. stocks
took a breather on Wednesday, as investors turned their
attention to the outcome of the Federal Reserve's policy
The Fed is widely tipped to lift rates 25 basis points, but
investors are likely to pay close attention to Fed Chair Janet
Yellen's tone and new forecasts for clues on policymakers'
thinking on how President-elect Donald Trump's policies will
impact growth and inflation.
The announcement is due at 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT), followed by
Yellen's news conference 30 minutes later.
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
"I don't expect the market to see too much action one way or
the other today," said Michael Scanlon, managing director of
Manulife Asset Management.
"The most important thing that investors will be looking at
is the interpretation of the commentary from the Fed. I think
the market is pricing in about two hikes for 2017 but if the
Trump administration is able to reduce corporate taxes, I
wouldn't be surprised to see four hikes next year."
At 11:00 a.m. ET (1600 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average
was down 29.08 points, or 0.15 percent, at 19,882.13, the
S&P 500 was down 3.6 points, or 0.15847 percent, at
2,268.12 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.52 points,
or 0.01 percent, at 5,463.31.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the energy
index's 0.56 percent fall leading the decliners.
Oil prices fell about 2 percent as glut worries resurfaced
after a reported rise in U.S. crude inventories and as OPEC
signaled a growing crude surplus next year unless production
cuts are implemented.
The financial index declined 0.36 percent.
Wells Fargo fell 2.2 percent to $54.59 after the
bank's "living will" failed U.S. regulators' assessment for a
second time this year.
U.S. stocks have been on a tear since the election, fueled
by expectations that Trump will reduce taxes and regulation and
stimulate the economy.
The Dow, which has risen about 9 percent since Nov. 8, is
less than a percent away from the 20,000 mark.
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
General Motors fell 3.1 percent to $36.24 and Ford
declined 1.5 percent to $12.58 following a report that
China will soon slap a penalty on an unnamed U.S. automaker for
Hertz Global dropped 4.5 percent to $23.99 after the
car rental company said on Tuesday it would replace its chief
executive and reduce its board size.
Express Scripts fell 5.8 percent to $68.94. The
pharmacy benefit manager signaled that scrutiny into drug
pricing isn't going away. The stock was the biggest drag on the
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,709
to 1,089. On the Nasdaq, 1,718 issues fell and 923 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and one new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 66 new highs and 28 new lows.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)