Dow opens lower ahead of Fed decision

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US stock-index benchmarks traded mostly flat Wednesday at at the open, as investors weighed a blowout quarter at Apple Inc.

Apple was a bright spot, rising 4.5 percent after it posted resilient iPhone sales in the face of waning global demand and promised $100 billion in additional stock buybacks.

In its statement, the Fed expressed confidence that a recent rise in inflation to near the USA central bank's target would be sustained, leaving it on track to raise borrowing costs in June, while it also said inflation "on a 12-month basis is expected to run near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term".

Biotechnology stocks also took a hit on Gilead Sciences's 7.3 percent drop after the company reported a lower quarterly profit as sales of its flagship hepatitis C drugs fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 174 points, or 0.7 percent, at 23,924. The Nasdaq composite slid 0.4 percent to 7,100.90. Apple's 3% share rise comes after the largest USA company by market capitalization, and a Dow component, late Tuesday posted better-than-anticipated earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-stock-rises-after-iphone-sales-fall-short-but-earnings-beat-2018-05-01) and revenue for the first quarter late Tuesday. Beer brewer Molson Coors tumbled 12.3 percent after it said US sales slowed.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 2, 2018.

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The S&P index recorded 11 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 65 new highs and 32 new lows.

The Dow e-minis were down 45 points, or 0.19%. The Shanghai Composite in mainland China shed 0.6 percent to 3,064.33 but Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.8 percent to 6,098.30.

Wall Street's major indexes had briefly moved higher after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged in its policy announcement on Wednesday but gave up gains as the session progressed.

US stocks fell on Wednesday as potential USA restrictions on Chinese telecom companies reinforced investor concerns about worsening trade relations between the United States and China.

The Fed is scheduled to release its latest monetary policy decision at 2 p.m. ET (about 8 pm Nigerian time) but market expectations for a May rate hike are just 5.7 percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

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