NEW YORK, Dec 17: US. stocks expanded early gains after wavering in the morning session Wednesday, as investors were bracing for the Federal Reserve's policy meeting statement.
In midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 174.39 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 17,243.26. The S&P 500 surged 26.37 points, or 1.34 per cent, to 1,999.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index leapt 53.14 points, or 1.17 per cent, to 4,600.97.
The Fed will release the statement Wednesday afternoon at the conclusion of its final two-day policy meeting of this year from which investors are waiting to see whether the central bank would change its languages in describing when to begin hiking interest rates.
On the economic front, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers declined 0.3 per cent in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, the largest drop since December 2008, mainly due to falling gasoline prices, said the Labor Department, exceeding market consensus of a 0.1-per cent drop.
Despite decelerating U.S. inflation pressure, analysts do not expect the latest CPI figure to affect the Fed's decision very much, as the central bank sees energy price fluctuations as transitory.
Moreover, U.S. mortgage applications declined 3.3 per cent for the week ending Dec. 12 from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Providing some upward jolts to the stock market, U.S. crude prices rebounded roughly 1 per cent close to noon on Wednesday, one day after breaking below 54 U.S. dollars a barrel.