* Fed seen sticking to stimulus as Cyprus rekindles global
* Cyprus leaders make efforts to avert crisis after
rejecting EU bailout
* FOMC to issue statement, Bernanke news conference on tap
* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct; S&P 0.6 pct; Nasdaq 0.6 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 20 U.S. stocks opened higher on
Wednesday after declining for the past three sessions, with
investors' focus on the Federal Reserve's policy statement and
news conference by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke later in the day.
The Fed looks set to sustain its $85 billion monthly
bond-buying stimulus despite improving U.S. economic data as a
new flare-up in the euro zone crisis from Cyprus's troubles
reminds officials of a risky global environment.
The Fed will release the Federal Open Market Committee
statement and the Summary of Economic Projections at 2:00 p.m.
EDT (1800 GMT). Bernanke's news conference is due around 2:30
"With the market up 10 percent for the year so far, if the
Fed changes (its stance) ever so slightly, the market could have
a knee-jerk reaction here," said Steve Goldman, principal at
Goldman Management in Greenwich, Connecticut.
"But I don't think that will be the case. There are still
concerns in the euro zone and the domestic economy is decent but
not as strong as we would want it to be."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 77.09 points,
or 0.53 percent, at 14,532.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 8.71 points, or 0.56 percent, at 1,557.05. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 19.82 points, or 0.61
percent, at 3,248.91.
The S&P 500 has ended lower for the past three sessions as
investors booked profits from a recent rally that had taken the
Dow to a 10-day winning streak last week.
Concerns about Cyprus and possible contagion to other parts
of Europe curbed risk appetite. Cypriot leaders held crisis
talks on Wednesday to avert financial meltdown after the
country's parliament rejected the terms of a European Union
bailout, throwing efforts to rescue the latest casualty of the
euro zone debt crisis into disarray.
FedEx Corp reported a 31 percent drop in quarterly
profit due to restructuring costs and weakness in its air
freight express business. The stock was off 4.3 percent to
JPMorgan Chase & Co has reached a $546 million
settlement with the trustee liquidating the failed broker-dealer
unit of MF Global Holdings, a court filing showed
Roche Holding and a buyout group comprising KKR &
Co LP and Hellman & Friedman LLC have joined the bidding
for Life Technologies Corp, a genetic testing company
coveted for its advanced diagnostics and steady cash flow,
according to people familiar with the matter.
General Mills, the U.S. maker of Yoplait yogurt,
Cheerios cereal and Progresso soups, reported a higher quarterly
profit on Wednesday, helped by the recent acquisitions of Yoki
Alimentos in Brazil and Yoplait Canada. The stock was up 1.4
percent at $47.09.