The Latest: US markets edge higher ahead of Fed decision

The Latest on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Stocks are edging higher on Wall Street and bond yields are lower ahead of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy statement.

Investors will be closely parsing the Fed’s announcement, which is due out later Wednesday afternoon, particularly any references to how the Fed thinks the economy is doing.

Assurances from the Fed late last year that any interest rate increases in 2019 were unlikely helped the stock market recover from a steep rout. Investors had worried that the Fed could destabilize the economy if it continued raising borrowing costs.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were both up about 0.1% at midday.

Bond prices rose after a report on the manufacturing sector came in weaker than analysts anticipated.

The yield on the 10 year Treasury fell to 2.48%.

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4:45 a.m.

Stock markets are edging higher ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting at which the central bank is not expected to change its interest rates but could give clues on their future direction.

Futures for the Dow and the S&P 500 are both up 0.4%. The indexes that are open for trading in Europe, where much of the region is closed for a holiday, are also up slightly, with Britain’s FTSE 100 up 0.1%. The dollar was steady against the yen and euro.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a news conference after the Fed meeting ends Wednesday.

Economists expect the Fed to say that it will not increase its key interest rates anytime soon as it monitors the health of the U.S. and global economy. Low rates tend to help stock markets and the economy by making it cheaper to borrow money. President Donald Trump has called for what no mainstream economist is advocating: interest rate cuts.

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12:05 a.m.

The Federal Reserve is all but sure to keep interest rates on hold Wednesday — and for the foreseeable future — even as President Donald Trump keeps up his attacks on the Fed for not cutting rates.

The Fed will likely reiterate a message that has reassured consumers and investors since the start of the year: No rate hikes are likely anytime soon. The Fed’s low-rate policy is keeping borrowing costs down, helping boost stock prices and supporting an economy that’s growing steadily. And with inflation remaining tame, the Fed is seen as able to stay on the sidelines at least through this year.

Yet Trump insists the economy can do better, and to that end he is demanding what almost no mainstream economist would favor: Cutting rates further.