* Fed statement, news conference in focus
* Adobe shares up, FedEx up after results
* Dow, S&P off 0.2 pct, Nasdaq off 0.1 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped modestly at
the open on Wednesday, but held on to most of their gains over
the last two days, ahead of a highly anticipated Federal Reserve
statement and news conference.
The Fed will release a policy statement at 2:00 p.m. EDT
(1800 GMT), which will be followed soon after by a news briefing
with Chairman Ben Bernanke.
"The early morning action is not surprising given the fact
that we've had two days of position jockeying ahead of the
(Fed)announcement," said Andre Bakhos, director of market
analytics at Lek Securities in New York.
The advance this week so far suggested investors expect
reassurances of continued economic support from the U.S. central
bank. The equity market had been roiled recently by indications
that the Fed's asset purchases would be scaled back earlier than
Even as volatility had spiked in the wake of Bernanke's
comments to Congress May 22, which triggered investors' angst
over a winding-down of quantitative easing, equity markets have
mostly traded sideways. The S&P 500 is just over 1 percent below
its record closing high set on May 21.
"A well perceived statement, and the upside momentum will
continue," Bakhos said. "However, a statement which creates
concern with Fed policy may prove to be a chance for the market
to reverse its recent gains."
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23.81 points or
0.16 percent, to 15,294.42, the S&P 500 lost 2.89 points
or 0.17 percent, to 1,648.92 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 2.1 points or 0.06 percent, to 3,480.08.
Fed policymakers will likely announce that they will keep
buying bonds at a monthly pace of $85 billion, while keeping
their options open to scaling back the stimulus program later
this year if the U.S. labor market continues to improve.
Shares of Adobe Systems Inc rose 7.9 percent to
$46.80 a day after the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software
reported a higher-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit and
said demand rose for Creative Cloud, the subscription-based
version of its flagship software package.
FedEx Corp reported higher quarterly profit than
expected as its ground shipment business improved and due to
lower jet fuel prices. Shares were up 1.4 percent at $100.88 in
Other S&P 500 companies scheduled to report earnings on
Wednesday include Jabil Circuit Inc, Micron Technology
Inc and Red Hat Inc.
Japan's SoftBank cleared a major hurdle in its
attempt to buy U.S. wireless provider Sprint Nextel, as
rival bidder Dish Network declined to make a new offer
after SoftBank sweetened its own bid last week. Sprint shares
fell 3.6 percent to $7.06.