New York Stock ExchangeStocks closed mixed with little change on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve stood pat on interest rates and warned that falling prices are becoming a bigger concern.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) added 7 points to 10,761, while the broader S&P 500 ($INX) slipped 6 points, or 0.3%, to close at 1,140. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) fell 6 points, or 0.3%, to settle at 2,349.

Tuesday's meeting of the central bank's rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee did little to give equities direction after an initial mid-afternoon pop. They key difference in the FOMC's latest policy statement was in regard to falling asset prices, which the central bank could bolster by buying up more long-dated Treasurys in a second round of so-called quantitative easing.

"Measures of underlying inflation are currently at levels somewhat below those the Committee judges most consistent, over the longer run, with its mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability," the Fed's statement said.

The central bank kept its fed funds target range of 0% to 0.25% unchanged for the 20th straight month, and it maintained the same stance regarding future interest rate policy, reiterating that it will keep rates "exceptionally low" for an "extended period." Two-thirds of economists polled by Bloomberg said they believe the Fed will move to boost the economy through quantitative easing by the end of the year.

The bond market got a lift Tuesday as the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury note fell to 2.59% from 2.67%. (Bond prices and yields move in opposite direction.)

Gold extended its remarkable record-setting rally, rising $9.40 an ounce to $1,290 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYX). Oil slipped $1.95 a barrel, or 2.6%, to settle at $72.91.

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The Fed's action represents a widening of the spread between the discount rate and the upper end of the target fed funds rate. The two rates typically move in lockstep, and were a percentage point apart before the crisis.

September 27 2010 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Fed needs to be audited and then ended....but first they need to put the dollar back on the gold standard to stop the printing and dilution of our dollar and stop manipulating gold prices, stock prices and interest rates....

September 21 2010 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply