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Stocks mixed ahead of looming Fed decision

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Stocks were struggling in opposite directions on Tuesday as investors eagerly awaited the results of a crucial Federal Reserve policy meeting. The S&P 500 slipped around 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped up 0.2%, edging closer to 100 points. The Nasdaq Composite, on the other hand, witnessed a decline of approximately 0.8%, driven by Nvidia’s shares retreating following AI updates unveiled at its annual developer conference. The tech giant’s performance was closely monitored amidst the broader market movement.

All eyes were on the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting commencing on Tuesday morning, as beleaguered stocks anticipated insights on potential interest rate cuts. Recent inflation surprises had dampened hopes for rate reductions, making this Fed meeting a critical test for the market. With expectations high for unchanged rates, the focus shifted to the “dot plot” for indications about the number and timing of rate adjustments throughout the year. The central bank is slated to announce its policy decision on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. In parallel, the Bank of Japan made headlines by ending its era of negative rates with its first hike in 17 years, adding to the week’s packed schedule of central bank decisions.

Elsewhere, in the cryptocurrency realm, Bitcoin experienced a pullback from its recent peak, falling more than 5% to hover below $63,000. This decline, poised to be the largest single-day loss in two weeks, affected shares of companies like Coinbase and Marathon Digital linked to the digital token. Amongst corporate news, Unilever’s shares soared after announcing plans to cut jobs and spin off its ice cream division, impacting the market dynamics across various sectors.

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