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Market Morning: Fed Inaction Dents Stocks, Gold

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve's inaction on Tuesday has pushed global stocks mostly lower Wednesday.

European shares were lower, while U.S. futures suggested Wall Street would open with moderate gains.

Asian stocks closed lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4% to finish at 8,519.13. In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9% to 2,228.53, the lowest closing since March 2009.

On Tuesday, the Fed issued some warnings but gave no indication that another round of quantitative easing was on the way anytime soon to help boost the U.S. economy.

The Fed left rates unchanged -- at zero to 0.25% -- during its last meeting of 2011 amid signs suggesting that "the economy has been expanding moderately, notwithstanding some apparent slowing in global growth."

The Fed warned that the unemployment rate remains elevated despite indications of some improvement in the labor market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 66 points, or 0.6%, at 11,955. The S&P 500 fell 0.9% and the Nasdaq Composite declined 1.3% on Tuesday.

Gold prices were in free fall Wednesday, down as much as $25, as the U.S. dollar index broke above $80. The Fed offered no big bazooka Tuesday, giving no hints of quantitative easing. The news propped up the dollar, which was already strong against the euro.

The euro also was struggling to hold up after weak bond auctions in Italy and Germany. Italy's borrowing costs rose while Germany's fell but both countries saw weak demand. Mihir Dange, founder of Arbitrage, said the line in the sand for him would be $1,535 an ounce.

"We break under that you have to get short," Dange said.

-- Alix Steel

CME Group Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy said in testimony Tuesday that Jon Corzine knew that segregated customer funds had been transferred "to the firm's broker-dealer accounts" when Corzine served as CEO of MF Global (MFGLQ.PK).

MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31. Corzine resigned on Nov. 4.

Duffy told a Senate panel that he had information that Corzine knew about a transfer of $175 million from customer accounts. Corzine told a House committee last week that he was "stunned when I was told on Sunday, October 30, 2011, that MF Global could not account for many hundreds of millions of dollars of client money."
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