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US stocks close higher ahead as Fed meeting starts

New York, Sep 20 (IANS) US stocks ended higher on Tuesday, with Dow and Nasdaq closing at record highs, as the Federal Reserve began a two-day monetary policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 39.45 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 22,370.80. The S&P 500 added 2.78 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 2,506.65, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.68 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 6,461.32.

It was widely expected that the US central bank won’t raise interest rates following the meeting, but investors believe the Fed will announce the unwinding of its $4.5-trillion balance sheet.

Analysts said market will also be looking for clues of whether the Fed will raise rates in December. Market expectations for a December rate hike rose to 58.3 per cent on Tuesday.

Wall Street also kept an eye on the United Nations, where US President Donald Trump gave a speech on Tuesday, trying to rally members to confront threats like North Korea.

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council unanimously imposed a ban on the Asian country’s textile exports and capped its crude oil imports.

On the economic front, US privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,180,000, beating market consensus, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.

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