There's less anxiety than high expectation on Wall Street today as investors await the outcome of a meeting of the Federal Reserve in Washington. Optimism about the likelihood the Fed would continue its economic stimulus policy sent the Dow Jones industrial average to an all-time high yesterday. The Dow rose 111 points to 15,680.35. The blue chip index got a big boost from IBM, which announced that it would buy $15 billion more of its own stock. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose 9.84 points to 1,771.95, its seventh record high this month. The Nasdaq composite rose 12 points to 3,952. Futures indicate a muted opening today.
- International stock markets rose today after the Dow Jones industrial average hit an all-time high on expectations the Federal Reserve will keep its economic stimulus fully in place until next year. Benchmark crude oil fell below $98 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and fell against the euro.
- The Federal Reserve wraps up its two-day meeting today and the expected news is that there isn't much new. Renewed questions about the economy's health and uncertainty surrounding the government's budget fight will likely lead the Fed to maintain the pace of the stimulus it's supplying to the economy with a bond purchasing program.
- Social Security recipients are anxiously awaiting the official declaration of how much more they'll get next year, but indications are it won't be a big number. The cost-of-living adjustment is based on a government measure of inflation that is being released today. Preliminary figures suggest a raise of roughly 1.5 percent for some 58 million recipients -- among the smallest since 1975.
- Japan's industrial output rose 1.5 percent in September from the previous month, as stronger production of vehicles and electronic components added to signs the recovery in the world's third-largest economy is gaining traction. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday a survey found manufacturers expect output to rise 4.7 percent in October but to decline in November. The increase in September compares with a 0.9 percent decline in output in August.