December 11, 2019 / 3:23 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Dow hit by losses in Boeing, Home Depot; S&P 500, Nasdaq edge higher

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* Boeing off as FAA says 737 MAX to stay grounded in 2019

* Home Depot falls on weak 2020 sales growth forecast

* Fed decision awaited at 2 p.m. ET

* Dow off 0.02%, S&P 500 up 0.22%, Nasdaq up 0.24% (Updates to open)

By Arjun Panchadar and Shreyashi Sanyal

Dec 11 (Reuters) - The blue-chip Dow Jones index came under pressure from losses in Boeing and Home Depot on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq eked out gains as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s policy statement for clues on the strength of the economy.

The U.S. central bank is widely expected to keep borrowing costs steady in its latest policy announcement, due at 2:00 p.m. ET (1900 GMT). Markets are also awaiting Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s outlook on the economy when he holds a news conference later in the day.

“Obviously, the Fed isn’t going to change rates and my sense is that they are pretty happy where they are right now,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Three rate cuts earlier this year, a slightly calmer tone around U.S.-China trade recently and some relief over corporate profits have helped push the S&P 500 up 25% so far in 2019.

However, sentiment has dulled recently after signals that the U.S.-China trade deal could slide into next year. President Donald Trump has just days to decide whether to impose levies on nearly $160 billion in Chinese goods.

“The cautionary thing is that we’ve seen these bits of news and eventually had tariffs raised. So we are definitely not out of the woods on trade policy,” Brown said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 6.74 points, or 0.02%, at 27,874.98, hit by a 2.2% drop in shares of Boeing Co after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed it would not allow the company’s grounded 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of this year.

Also dragging the index lower was Home Depot Inc, which fell 1.2% as the home improvement chain forecast fiscal 2020 sales growth below Wall Street expectations.

In contrast, the S&P 500 was up 6.84 points, or 0.22%, at 3,139.36 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 20.47 points, or 0.24%, at 8,636.66.

Tesla Inc gained 2% on a Reuters report that the electric carmaker planned to increase prices of imported Model 3 cars in China in January.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.90-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and 20 new lows. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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