US stocks end mixed ahead of Fed statement

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New York, March 16 (IANS) US stocks closed mixed as investors digested the newly-released economic data while awaiting Wednesday’s US Federal Reserve policy announcement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22.40 points, or 0.13 percent, to 17,251.53 on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 fell 3.71 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,015.93. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 21.61 points, or 0.45 percent, to 4,728.67.

The Fed started its highly-anticipated policy meeting on Tuesday and is due to hold a press conference on Wednesday.

Most analysts believed the US central bank would not raise its interest rates at this meeting.

The advance estimates of US retail and food services sales for February decreased 0.1 percent from the previous month to $447. 3 billion, generally in line with market expectations, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

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“The big economics story in February was the rebound of retail sales and consumption in January. Today, we learned it was all a mistake. A massive downward revision to January sales suggests weak consumption didn’t end at the turn of the year after all,” said Chris low, chief economist at FTN Financial.

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