Economy & Markets

Forecasters expect the Fed to leave interest rates unchanged

By Canadian Press |
Source: The Canadian Press

It was another day of modest gains for North American stock indices, as investors awaited comments from the two-day policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve which began Tuesday.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 56.30 points to 15,292.97.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 39.45 points to 22,370.80. The S&P 500 index inched forward 2.78 points to 2,506.65 and the Nasdaq composite index was ahead 6.68 points to 6,461.32.

With the Fed expected to deliver an update on its view of the U.S. economy Wednesday, all eyes are on the central bank right now, said Peggy Bowie, a senior trader at Manulife Asset Management.

"I would definitely say it's quiet," said Bowie. "Everybody's got their fingers crossed in bond land."

At the meeting, forecasters expect the central bank to release details on the timing for when it might start shrinking its multitrillion-dollar stockpile of bonds.

Traders will also be listening for any indications that the Fed could move sooner on a rate increase, although it's widely expected that it will leave interest rates unchanged and stick to plans to raise rates in December.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of US81.45¢, down 0.26 of a cent.

Meanwhile in commodities, the November crude contract gave back US45¢ to US$49.90 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was down US2¢ to US$3.12 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract lost US20¢ at US$1,310.60 an ounce and the December copper contract was unchanged at US$2.97 a pound.