Fed remarks fail to boost US stocks

US stocks ended flat to lower in an erratic session yesterday after the Federal Reserve inched closer to further steps designed to support the recovery.

Stocks initially popped higher but gave back those gains quickly. Investors had hoped that with recent improvements in economic data, the Fed would issue a more upbeat outlook or clarify the measures it would take to stimulate demand.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 8.55 points, or 0.08 per cent, to end at 10,762.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 2.77 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 1,139.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 6.48 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 2,349.35.

Volume was still light, with 8.03bn shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Last year’s daily average was 9.65bn shares.