U.S. stocks opened up modestly in the green at the beginning of Wednesday’s trading, as investors wait to hear from Federal Reserve leaders during the afternoon’s committee meeting.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 55 points, or 0.2 percent, at market open. The S&P 500 was up 12 points, or nearly 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index was up almost 33 points, or 0.3 percent.

Most of the Fed representatives included in Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting have spoken publicly about the need for federal aid for Americans struggling during the coronavirus pandemic and recession. The committee is scheduled to offer a monetary policy statement, and Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell will answer questions.

The Federal Reserve has increased its balance sheet by about $3 trillion to help fill the gaps left by the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy through emergency lending and stabilizing of the stock market. But six months in and with many federal aid programs that buoyed households during the beginning of the pandemic expired or reduced, the Fed is grappling with how to support Americans who are falling through the cracks.

The Washington Post

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