* Stocks flat before Fed statement, Bernanke news conference
* Adobe, FedEx shares rise after results
* Dow, S&P off 0.06 pct, Nasdaq unchanged
By Alison Griswold
NEW YORK, June 19 U.S. stocks were little
changed on Wednesday before the Federal Reserve releases a
statement which could provide clues about the Fed's future
stimulus efforts, a key to the market's continued rally.
The Fed will release a policy statement at 2 p.m. (1800
GMT), which will sum up policymakers' views on the economic
outlook and may also shed light on when the Fed might scale back
its bond-buying, meant to stimulate growth and bolster the shaky
Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference beginning
at 2:30 p.m. He is likely to be asked about the timeline for
winding down bond purchases, about inflation that is below the
Fed's target and his views on being reappointed Fed chairman
after his term expires in 2014.
The S&P 500 has regained some losses in the last few days as
confidence increased that the Fed will leave the current
stimulus in place even if Bernanke nods at the need to begin
reducing bond purchases later in the year.
Seth Setrakian, partner and co-head of U.S. equities at
First New York Securities, said the market is changing little
before the results of the Fed's two-day meeting.
"It would be suicide to take big exposure or lean one way or
the other because I think the reaction is going to be very
binary: accommodative or not accommodative," he said.
The expectation is that the Fed will maintain its $85
billion per month in bond purchases, with policymakers leaving
their options open for scaling back later this year if the U.S.
labor market continues to improve.
The stimulus helped the stock market reach record highs on
May 21, one day before Bernanke said the Fed could reduce its
bond-buying in the "next few meetings" if the economy gained
momentum. His comments rocked markets, boosting bond yields and
halting stocks' rally.
Despite the increased volatility of the past month, the
market has moved largely sideways. The S&P 500 closed on Tuesday
just 1 percent below its record high of 1,669.16 on May 21.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 8.79
points, or 0.06 percent, at 15,309.44. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 0.95 point or 0.06 percent, at 1,650.86.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.10 point at
U.S. wireless provider Sprint Nextel was the most
heavily traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange, falling 3
percent to $7.09. Japan's SoftBank cleared a major
hurdle in its attempt to buy Sprint as rival bidder Dish Network
declined to make a new offer after SoftBank sweetened
its own bid last week.
Shares of Adobe Systems Inc rose 6.5 percent to
$46.19 a day after the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software
reported a higher-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit and
said demand rose for Creative Cloud, the subscription-based
version of its flagship software package.
FedEx Corp reported higher quarterly profit than
expected as its ground shipment business improved. It also said
jet fuel prices dropped. Shares were up 3.7 percent at $103.20.
Among the most actively traded shares on the Nasdaq were the
when-issued shares of News Corp, which represent
preliminary trading in the company. It is scheduled to be split
from its Fox unit at the end of June. More than 20 million
shares traded in the stock, which last traded at $15.91 a share.