US stocks trade mixed ahead of Fed meeting

New York, Sep 12 (IANS) The US stocks traded lower on Friday as cautious traders were waiting a decision on rate hike by the US Federal Reserve next week.

At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 24.96 points, or 0.15 percent, to 16,355.36. The S&P 500 fell 2.19 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,950.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 8.41 points, or 0.18 percent, to 4,787.84, Xinhua news agency reported.

Wall Street remains focused on the Fed ahead of its key policy meeting on September 16-17, when the US central bank could raise interest rates for the first time in more than nine years.

Analysts said uncertainty about the Fed’s rate decision at its two-day policy meeting has contributed to the recent market volatility.

The strengthening US labour market and falling import prices, however, triggered market debate over whether the policymakers should raise interest rates next week.

On the economic front, the Producer Price Index for final demand was unchanged in August, yet seasonally adjusted, it beat market expectations for a 0.1 percent decline, the US Labour Department said on Friday.

Meanwhile, the preliminary reading of Thomson Reuters/ University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index came in at 85.7 for September, well below market estimates.

The US stocks posted sizable gains after volatile trading Thursday, as investors tried to digest mixed economic reports ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

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