U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday on positive data about the services sector and employment, while investors awaited the Fed's assessment of the economic recovery.
Gains were broad-based, with the healthcare sector jumping on hopes the Obama administration's healthcare reforms may be delayed after Republicans scored some key election victories.
All eyes will be on the statement from the Federal Open Market Committee, due at about 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT). The Fed is expected to keep U.S. benchmark interest rates near zero, and reaffirm that policies supporting the economy will stay in place for some time, even as signs of recovery mount.
The market doesn't anticipate any big changes, but there's been a pause in the upward momentum in the last hour or so on concerns that there might be a material change in the extended period phrase ... the Fed may suggest to the market or hint at when they will be raising rates, said Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial in Boston.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 121.29 points, or 1.24 percent, at 9,893.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 10.65 points, or 1.02 percent, at 1,056.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 14.34 points, or 0.70 percent, at 2,071.66.
All three indexes were off slightly from session highs.
Data showed the services sector grew in October for a second straight month, while U.S. companies cut jobs last month at the slowest pace in more than a year.
Among gainers, Merck & Co Inc
The Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor index <.HMO> rose 5.4 percent, and the S&P healthcare index <.GSPA> added 1.8 percent.
Shares of Intel Corp
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Jan Paschal)