Stocks are mixed ahead of Federal Reserve meeting on rates; FedEx profit beats expectations
On Wednesday June 22, 2011, 12:03 pm EDTNEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks traded mixed in midday trading Wednesday as investors wait to hear what the Federal Reserve will say about the economic recovery. ,
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,297. The Dow Jones industrial average was flat at 12,190. The Nasdaq rose 2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,670.
The Federal Reserve is winding down a bond-buying program at the end of this month. The program was meant to support the economy.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at a press conference Wednesday afternoon to cap a two-day policy meeting for the central bank.
Investors are waiting to hear if Bernanke still thinks the slowdown is temporary. Bernanke has said he expects the economy to pick up later in the year after the effects of Japan's March 11 earthquake and higher gasoline prices recede.
FedEx Corp. reported a 33 percent jump in income and said it expects global economic growth to continue. The package delivery company's stock rose 2 percent.
Analysts consider results from FedEx and its rival UPS Corp. important indicators for the broader economy because they ship orders for all kinds of businesses.
"I don't think the economy is headed for recession," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at New York-based brokerage house Avalon Partners Inc. "That means corporate earnings stay strong, and that's the bottom line for the stock market."
CarMax Inc. rose 7.7 percent, the biggest gain in the S&P 500 index. The dealership owner said profit rose 25 percent on higher used-vehicle prices.
Jabil Circuit Inc. rose 6.5 percent after the electronics part maker said its earnings doubled last quarter.
AeroVironment Inc. jumped 16.7 percent after the maker of unmanned aerial drones and charging systems for electric cars said its income rose 13 percent.
In Greece, the new government narrowly won a vote of confidence. That may help it push through budget cuts and other austerity measures that it needs to secure more emergency loans.
The cash will help the country at least delay a default on its debt, an event that would hurt banks and the European economy. Worries about a Greek default have weighed on global financial markets since May.
The S&P 500 jumped 1.3 percent Tuesday on hopes the Greek government would win the confidence vote, extending the market's rally to four days. It was the index's longest winning streak since May. The last time the index climbed for five straight days was in January.