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Wall Street opens modestly higher as attention turns to Fed's decisions

Major equity indexes in the U.S. started the day on a positive note as investors are getting ready for the last FOMC meeting of the year. As of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both up around 0.45% on the day while the Nasdaq Composite was leading the gains with a 1.25% advance.

Within the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, only the so-called defensive Utilities and Real Estate were recording losses in the early trade. On the other hand, the S&P 500 Materials and Communications Services were both up more than 1%.

Previewing today's event, "We expect the FOMC to raise the federal funds target rate (FFTR) by 25bps, bringing the upper band to 2.50%, and to raise the rate on excess reserves (IOER) by 20bps to 2.40%. The tone of the statement and press conference is likely to remain cautious on the global outlook and relatively upbeat on domestic outlook," Standard Chartered analysts noted in a recently published report.

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