US Stocks Fall Ahead of Fed Policy Statement

(AP) -- Stocks fell in morning trading on Wall Street Wednesday as traders wait to hear from the Federal Reserve after its last policy meeting of the year.

The S&P 500 index fell 0.3% as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 96 points, or 0.3%, to 35,447 and the Nasdaq fell 0.6%.

Big communications companies were among the biggest weights on the market. Facebook parent Meta fell 2.1% and Google parent Alphabet shed 1.2%.

U.S. crude oil prices fell 1.3% and sent energy stocks lower. Hess fell 3.8%.

Banks and a wide range of retailers also fell.

Bond yields were steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 1.44%, unchanged from late Tuesday.

Health care companies made solid gains. Eli Lilly jumped 7.8% after giving investors an encouraging update on its financial forecasts and drug development.

Rising inflation and its impact on the broader economy and markets will be a key focus when the Federal Reserve releases a statement later Wednesday as it ends its last two-day meeting of the year.

The central bank is widely expected to announce a faster pullback of its stimulus measures as inflationary pressures build. That would include hastening plans to trim bond purchases that have kept interest rates in check.

Investors will also be listening for any clues to the Fed's timeline in 2022 for raising benchmark interest rates.

Concerns over the impact from the Fed's actions, along with the latest coronavirus variant, have made for choppy trading as the market approaches the close of 2021.