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."

About $1.2 billion of customer money was unaccounted for when the company filed for bankruptcy protection.


Avon Products ( AVP), the New York-based beauty products seller, is looking for a new CEO.

Current CEO Andrea Jung is being named executive chairman as part of Avon's decision to separate the chairman and CEO roles. The company plans to conduct an external search for a new CEO.

Jung will work with the board to find her replacement and will continue to serve in dual roles until her successor is found.


Republican voters heavily favor Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney as the party's nominee, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey.

Gingrich, the former House speaker, has 40% support among likely GOP voters, compared with 23% for Romney, the survey found. All the other GOP candidates received less than 10% support.

But half of all voters said they wouldn't vote for Gingrich if he were the Republican nominee, compared with 44% who say they wouldn't vote for Romney. About 45% said they wouldn't vote for President Barack Obama, according to the survey.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.