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US STOCKS-Wall St up ahead of Fed statement, eyes on Cyprus
March 20, 2013 / 4:22 PM / 5 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St up ahead of Fed statement, eyes on Cyprus

* Federal Reserve seen sticking to stimulus
    * Cyprus banking crisis a reminder of global risks
    * Homebuilders' stocks jump after Lennar earnings
    * FedEx shares slide after results
    * Dow up 0.4 pct; S&P 500 up 0.5 pct; Nasdaq up 0.5 pct

    By Rodrigo Campos
    NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - The Dow industrials hit a
record intraday high on Wednesday as U.S. stocks resumed their
rise ahead of a statement from the Federal Reserve expected to
reinforce the view that the Fed will keep a floor under the
    The Fed looks set to sustain its $85 billion monthly
bond-buying stimulus despite improving U.S. economic data as the
threat of a financial meltdown in Cyprus and its possible impact
on the euro zone remind officials of a risky global environment.
    The Fed will release the Federal Open Market Committee
statement and the Summary of Economic Projections at 2 p.m. 
(1800 GMT). Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will host a
news conference around 2:30 p.m.
    "We're not expecting any changes" in Fed policy, said Fred
Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake
Oswego, Oregon.
    The housing sector's stocks ranked among the best performers
after Lennar Corp reported a first-quarter profit well
above analysts' expectations as lower interest rates and rising
rents increased home sales.
    Lennar's stock rose 4.7 percent to $43.38 after hitting
$43.24, its highest level since June 2007. The PHLX housing
sector index jumped 2 percent.
    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 54.55 points or
0.38 percent, to 14,510.37. The S&P 500 gained 7.83
points or 0.51 percent, to 1,556.17. The Nasdaq Composite
 added 14.42 points or 0.45 percent, to 3,243.52.
    Earlier, the Dow climbed to a record intraday high of
    The S&P 500 has ended lower for the past three sessions as
investors sold equities to book profits from a recent rally. It
is still on track to post its best quarter in a year and less
than 1 percent away from a record closing high.
    Cypriot leaders held crisis talks on Wednesday to avoid a
financial meltdown after the country's parliament rejected a tax
on bank deposits proposed over the weekend by European Union
    Investors fear a collapse of the banking system in Cyprus
will tighten credit across Europe and become another hurdle in
the region's bumpy road out of economic crisis.
    "There's global relief the Cypriot situation doesn't appear
to be as bad as it looked on Sunday night," said D.A. Davidson's
    Shares of General Mills, the U.S. maker of Yoplait
yogurt, Cheerios cereal and Progresso soups, surged to a record
intraday high at $47.86 after the company reported a higher
quarterly profit on Wednesday. General Mills' results were
helped by its recent acquisitions of Yoki Alimentos in Brazil
and Yoplait Canada. At midday, the stock was up 3 percent at
    In contrast, shares of FedEx Corp lost 5.6 percent -
their largest percentage drop for any day since late September
2011 - to $100.53. FedEx cut its full-year forecast after
reporting a 31 percent drop in quarterly profit due to
restructuring costs and weakness in its air freight express
    The Dow Jones Transportation Average slipped 0.6
percent, weighed down by FedEx, one of its components.

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