Stocks were gaining for a fourth consecutive session in intraday trading Wednesday as investors awaited a policy announcement from the Federal Reserve.
Retail sales for August rose for the third month in a row but slowed as federal relief for unemployed Americans expired and activity at stores and restaurants moderated as businesses struggle to reopen.
The Federal Reserve is expected Wednesday to hold rates near zero, where it lowered them to at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March, and reaffirm its new, more relaxed stance on inflation.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in August the central bank would keep interest rates low even if inflation rises above its target levels.
The Fed will announce its decision on interest rates at 2 p.m. ET, followed by a press conference from Powell.
And then there's oil. Oil prices in the U.S. rose 3.66% to $39.68 a barrel as Hurricane Sally made landfall in Alabama with sustained winds of more than 105 mph, shuttering nearly a quarter of all Gulf region output.
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