* Fed announces monetary policy decision 12:30 p.m. ET
* Fed set to keep buying $85 bln per month in assets
* BlackRock sees S&P 500 at new peak by end-2013
* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct; S&P 0.3 pct; Nasdaq 0.1 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Dec 12 U.S. stocks rose for a sixth
day on Wednesday as investors anticipated that the U.S. Federal
Reserve will announce a fresh stimulus plan to support the
economy at the end of a two-day monetary policy meeting.
The Fed is expected to announce a new round of bond buying
later on Wednesday to boost a fragile economic recovery
threatened by political wrangling over the government's budget.
The monetary policy committee's decision is expected around
12:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT)
The S&P 500 was up for a sixth day, its longest winning
streak since August, although gains have been less than 0.5
percent per day, on average.
"The market is waiting on the Fed, anticipating the open
check to be out again, but we will see. Anything less than
enormous will be disappointing to the market," said Joe Saluzzi,
co-founder of New Jersey-based brokerage Themis Trading LLC.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 35.56 points,
or 0.27 percent, at 13,284.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 4.04 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,431.88. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.31 points, or 0.14
percent, at 3,026.62.
With just two weeks of trading left this year, the S&P 500
is up about 14 percent so far; it ended the year flat in 2011.
BlackRock, one of the world's biggest asset managers,
expects the S&P 500, the broad measure of U.S. stocks, to scale
new heights in 2013 and reach 1,600 by the end of the year.
That's a gain of more than 12 percent from current levels and
would surpass the index's previous peak of 1,576.09 set in 2007.
Negotiations intensified to avert the "fiscal cliff" - tax
hikes and spending cuts that kick in early in 2013 - ahead of a
year-end deadline as President Barack Obama and U.S. House of
Representatives Speaker John Boehner spoke by phone on Tuesday
after exchanging new proposals.
3M Co pointed to a profit rise of about 8 percent
next year as the U.S. economy continues its slow recovery. The
stock was down 0.5 percent at $93.23 in early trading.
Costco Wholesale Corp posted a 30 percent rise in
quarterly profit, beating expectations, as the largest U.S.
warehouse club chain saw sales rise and got a lift from higher
membership fees. But the stock fell 0.7 percent
to $97.53 in early trading Wednesday, after having gained more
than 1 percent in premarket trading.