* U.S. GDP miss adds downward pressure on stocks
* Fed's statement awaited for clues on asset-buying
NEW YORK, Jan 30 A surprise contraction in the
U.S. economy in the fourth quarter hurt stocks on Wednesday but
helped keep the euro close to a 14-month high on expectations
the U.S. central bank will continue its easy monetary policy.
The data showed the world's largest economy unexpectedly
suffered its first decline in the fourth quarter since the
2007-09 recession, and this dampened the mood in financial
markets ahead of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
An announcement from the U.S. central bank is expected later
in the day.
"This is one chink in the armor of the recent
better-than-expected economic indicators. This will make people
start to get wary," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at
John Thomas Financial in New York. "If it turns out Sandy and
the fiscal cliff were the reasons for (the contraction), people
will shrug it off."
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 9.61
points, or 0.07 percent, at 13,944.81. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 1.27 points, or 0.08 percent, at
1,506.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.69
points, or 0.05 percent, at 3,155.35.
Prices for U.S. Treasuries traded near flat on Wednesday as
data showed the U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank at the end of
last year, with investors awaiting any hints about the Fed's
asset-buying program as the central bank concludes a two-day
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
down 4/32, with the yield at 2.0136 percent.
There had been optimism earlier in the day after several
encouraging reports on the European economy that saw the euro
break above $1.35 for the first time since December
The euro was last at $1.3552.