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US stock market opens lower on brink of Fed's tapering decision

US stock market opens lower on brink of Fed's tapering decision
Central bank expected to announce timing of reducing its asset purchases

By Ovunc Kutlu

ANKARA (AA) - Major US indices opened mixed Wednesday, slightly lower than record highs posted in an earlier session as investors await a decision by the Federal Reserve on asset tapering.

The blue-chip Dow Jones fell 58 points, or 0.16%, to 35,994 at 9.33 a.m. EDT. The S&P 500 lost 4, or 0.1%, to 4,626.

The Nasdaq lost 16 points, or 0.11%, to 15,633.

All three indices on Thursday had climbed to new all-time highs.

The yield on 10-year US Treasury notes was down 0.45% to 1.540%.

While the VIX volatility index, known as the fear index, rose 0.62% to 16.13, the US dollar index climbed 0.05% to 94.14, above the critical threshold of 94.

Oil prices were down more than 2% before a meeting of OPEC and its allies on Thursday. International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $82.80, down 2.3%, while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 2.7% to $81.62.

Precious metals were on the decline with gold losing 1% to $1,769 per ounce and silver falling 1.7% to $23.14.

Although the Fed opened the door in September to start tapering – a process to reduce its asset purchases – its timing remains uncertain.

The central bank is expected to begin the process this month or could wait until December to view another jobs report and additional inflation data.

Investors will also focus on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comments in a news conference afterwards, reading it for clues on high inflation, the labor market, and interest rates.

source: News Feed
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