Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks march higher as Fed statement looms

U.S. benchmarks moved higher Wednesday ahead of the statement from the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting due to be released this afternoon.

But investors were punishing shares of Twitter Inc. and Yelp Inc. in the wake of disappointing earnings and outlooks delivered after Tuesday’s closing bell.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.38%  was 9 points, or 0.5%, higher at 2,102. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.44%  rose 88 points, or 0.5%, to 17,717.09.

Weakness in Yelp and Twitter didn’t stop the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.09%  from gaining 11 points to 5,101.

The U.S. central bank is wrapping up a two-day meeting and will release a brief statement at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. No news conference has been scheduled.

While the Fed is unlikely to tip its hand about whether it will raise interest rates at its September meeting, investors nonetheless will read its latest policy statement closely.

“A July rate hike looks unlikely, but a September liftoff appears to be well on the way to being priced into currency markets, so any hints that come out of the statement could have a significant impact on trading,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, in a note late Tuesday.

See: Fed seen staying mum

Investors focused on earnings reports, which so far have been a mixed bag.

“We’ve had some good earnings reports today and transports stocks are rising for the second day in a row, no doubt thanks to UPS profits. We view that as a positive,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

“While the market has been stuck in the range, many individual stocks have already corrected. Unless and until the S&P 500 breaks through the support or resistance levels, there is not much chance for an upside or the downside,” Cardillo said.

In other U.S. economic news, a gauge of pending home sales fell in June, pulling back from May’s reading, which was the highest in more than nine years, a trade group said Wednesday.

Movers & Shakers: Citrix Systems Inc. CTXS, +8.09%  was the biggest gainer among S&P 500 stocks, jumping 7% after the software company’s adjusted quarterly profit and revenue topped expectations late Tuesday. Citrix also announced the retirement of its long time chief executive, Mark Templeton.

Twitter Inc. TWTR, -13.46%  plunged 12% in the wake of its earnings report late Tuesday, as investors focused on the social-media company’s disappointing user growth. Yelp Inc. YELP, -28.38%  lost more than a quarter of its market value after a quarterly report that dismayed investors.

Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD, +4.16% rose 3.8% after the biotech company late Tuesday posted adjusted quarterly profit and revenue that beat forecasts.

Altria Group Inc. MO, -1.02%  advanced after posting better-than-expected quarterly results before the open, while Humana Inc. HUM, -0.55% reported quarterly profit and revenue that missed Wall Street’s forecasts.

After the closing bell, Whole Foods Market Inc. WFM, +1.05% and Facebook Inc. FB, +0.64% results are due.

Read more: MasterCard, Facebook, Humana earnings in focus

Other markets: Chinese stocks mostly closed higher Wednesday, with the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +3.44%  up 3.4% and recovering partly from Monday’s 8.5% slide that helped spark a global selloff. But the gains baffled many analysts, who suspected Chinese government buying. European equities SXXP, +0.96%  on Wednesday mostly gained ground.

Crude-oil CLU5, +1.65% prices dropped, while gold GCQ5, -0.29%  and the dollar DXY, +0.13% were little changed. 

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