Stocks mixed after Fed offers help - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Stocks mixed after Fed offers help

NEW YORK (AP) — There were mixed numbers from Wall Street Tuesday after the Federal Reserve said it was ready to provide more help to the economy if necessary.

The Fed didn't announce new purchases of government debt or other specific measures to help the economy now, but it did leave the door open to such steps in the future, as investors were hoping.

The central bank said that inflation remains below levels that indicate a healthy economy, and that it was ready to provide further support toward the recovery. That could mean more purchases of Treasury bonds or other debt, which would keep interest rates low and hopefully encourage borrowing.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed the day up 7 points. It had been trading slightly lower for most of the day.  The S & P 500 index slipped 3 points, while the NASDAQ composite lost 6 points.

Stocks have rallied throughout the month on signs that the economy continues to grow, even though the expansion remains sluggish. In the latest signal, the Commerce Department reported that construction of homes and apartments rose last month to the highest level since April. Building applications, a sign of future activity, also rose in August.

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