NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) are higher by 0.52% to $9.58 early Wednesday afternoon, as gold prices edge lower ahead of an important Federal Reserve policy statement.

For April delivery, gold is down by 0.33% to $1,116.90 per ounce on the COMEX this afternoon.

The Fed is not expected to hike interest rates at its two-day meeting which began on Tuesday, but it will release a statement at 2 p.m. Eastern, 30 minutes after the settlement price for gold is set, MarketWatch reports.

The statement could hint at the pace of future interest rate increases. Gold is non-interest paying and struggles to compete with interest-paying assets when rates are higher.

Some strategists are expecting the Fed to express a fairly subdued reaction to global market turmoil and declining oil prices, which could be supportive to the precious metal. 

"We expect nothing dramatic from the Fed today except cautionary warnings on the state of global growth and an awareness of the damage dollar strength could do. This will be positive for gold," Julian Phillips, founder and contributor of GoldForecaster.com, told MarketWatch.

Barrick Gold is a Toronto-based gold mining company.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "sell" rating with a score of D on the stock.

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This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks the team covers.

The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: ABX

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