U.S. stocks were little changed after starting higher on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to comments from the Federal Reserve, which could shed light on the central bank's plans for interest rates and quantitative easing.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 4.73 points, or 0.04 percent, at 12,590.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 2.56 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,344.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 3.04 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,844.50.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)