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149 Days ago

New York: US stocks ended sharply lower on Wednesday, as Wall Street digested the newly-released Federal Reserve's statement amid downbeat quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow dropped 1.38 percent, and the S&P 500 lost 1.09 percent, while the Nasdaq shed 2.18 percent.

The Federal Reserve said that it will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, pledging to keep the monetary policy accommodative to support economic growth.

Earlier, stocks pared early losses to trade mixed around midday on Wednesday, as investors digested downbeat quarterly earnings reports and oil recovery ahead of the release of Federal Reserve's statement.

At noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 32.63 points, or 0.20 percent, to 16,199.86. The S&P 500 added 8.10 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,911.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 14.36 points, or 0.31 percent, to 4,553.31.

The Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-setting panel of the US Federal Reserve, began its monetary policy meeting Tuesday and will release a statement after the conclusion of the meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Analysts predicted that the Fed won't take any rate action at this meeting amid oil weakness. However, investors will look into the statement for further clues on the economic environment and the future path of tightening.

On corporate news, after Tuesday's closing bell, Apple Inc. reported lower-than-expected unit sales of its flagship product and gave guidance below forecasts, though the iPhone maker posted record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion for its fiscal 2016's first quarter that ended Dec. 26, 2015.

Shares of Apple Inc. tumbled nearly 5 percent around midday Wednesday.

Shares of the Boeing Company slumped about 7 percent around midday Wednesday after the aerospace giant's full-year guidance missed market estimates.

Meanwhile, the volatility in oil prices remained in focus. US oil, which has plummeted about 16 percent since the beginning of the year, reversed early losses to trade about 3 percent up around midday Wednesday.

On the economic front, US sales of new single-family houses in December 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000, beating market consensus, said the Commerce Department Wednesday.

On Tuesday, US stocks rebounded strongly on oil recovery, as Wall Street closely followed the Fed's two-day policy meeting. (IANS)

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