Stocks Little Changed Awaiting Fed

Stocks Little Changed Awaiting Fed

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were little changed in early trading Wednesday as investors wait to hear from the Federal Reserve and work through company news, including a possible deal between two giant beer makers.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,627 as of 10:26 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,981 and the Nasdaq composite fell three points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,857.

FED FOCUS: Investors are closely watching the Federal Reserve and the start of their two-day meeting Wednesday, which could end with the central bank raising its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Investors remain mixed on the chance of an increase.

Some economists say it's time to start gradually raising interest rates given that the U.S. job market has recovered significantly. Others argue rates should remain low given the recent global turmoil in financial markets triggered by concerns over China.

MERGER BREWING: SABMiller, a major beer maker whose brands include Miller and Foster's, jumped 21 percent in London after the company said it received a takeover offer from Anheuser-Busch InBev. A combination of the two would create a massive conglomerate controlling roughly 30 percent of the world's beer market. Any potential deal would be sure to receive heavy scrutiny from regulators in the U.S. and overseas.

U.S.-traded shares of Anheuser-Busch rose $7.53, or 7 percent, to $115.48. Other beer makers also rose. Molson Coors jumped $8.91, or 12 percent, to $81.55.

JOB CUTS: Hewlett-Packard rose 97 cents, or 4 percent, to $28.10 after the company announced it would cut 30,000 jobs, or roughly 10 percent of its workforce, and would split into two separate companies.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude rose $1.32 to $45.89 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international types of oil imported into the U.S., gained $1.28 to $49.86 a barrel.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.28 percent. The dollar was little changed at 120.49 Japanese yen and the euro edged up to $1.13.