By Sruthi Shankar
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks inched higher on Wednesday, as investors awaited a widely expected interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve and its guidance on the monetary policy.
A rate hike of a quarter percentage point is priced in by the market participants, who will parse the statement for clues on whether the Fed will raise rates three or four times this year. The announcement is due at 2:00 p.m. ET.
"The uncertainty is whether or not the Fed talks about some of the political stuff going on in DC and concerns about trade," said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.
"If they were just about what's going on in the economy, then it would be talking about a fourth rate hike, so the market's prepared for that."
According to the CME Group's Fedwatch tool, traders are equally split about a fourth rate hike in December.
A Labor Department report showed U.S. producer prices increased more than expected in May, leading to the biggest annual increase in nearly 6-1/2 years, but underlying producer inflation remained moderate.
At 11:46 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 13.91 points, or 0.05 percent, at 25,334.64, the S&P 500 was up 3.76 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,790.61 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 43.45 points, or 0.56 percent, at 7,747.24.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.35-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)