Stocks Begin Little Changed before Fed Move

U.S. stocks edged higher in opening minutes of trading on Thursday before hearing the outcome of the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately was up 1.94 points at 13,335.29. The S&P 500 index was off 1.05 points at 1,435.51. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.85 point to 3,113.46.

The eyes of the business world are on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues today as the central bank is expected to announce another round of economic stimulus at the conclusion of its two-day meeting.

Producer prices rose by the most in three years in August as the cost of energy surged, but underlying inflation pressures were contained, keeping the door open to additional monetary policy easing. The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted producer price index increased 1.7 percent last month, the largest gain since June 2009 and accelerating from July’s 0.3 percent rise. Wholesale prices excluding volatile food and energy costs rose 0.2 percent, slowing from a 0.4 percent increase in July. The rise matched economists’ expectations.

German public-sector savings banks and cooperative banks are urging Chancellor Angela Merkel to block a European-wide deposit insurance system — one possibility being debated as leaders try to strengthen banking supervision.

Italy sold three-year debt at the lowest rate in almost two years a day after Germany’s top constitutional court paved the way for the European Central Bank and the European Union to buy bonds of nations in distress. The Rome-based Treasury sold 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion) of its benchmark three-year bond to yield 2.75 percent, down from 4.65 percent at the last auction of the same securities on July 13.

Nestle (NESN) SA, the world’s largest food company, said China sales will probably grow about 20 percent this year because of rising wages and government’s policy to boost local consumption.

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